Math 171 Course Description
The elementary school curriculum in recent years has begun to include a significant amount of geometry, including reasoning about important and fundamental ideas. This course is designed to provide students intending to become elementary school teachers with the beginnings of a strong background to teach this geometry.
While the geometry topics will be basic, the course will go into them deeply. There is much to think about in considering basic geometry ideas. Since the course will emphasize understanding, reasoning, and communication, class discussion and writing will be key components of the course.
Because this course is for future elementary teachers, few of whom are math majors, the course will be designed to be friendly and accessible to students who have not been in a math course recently. The subject matter lends itself to visual and hands-on approaches, and these will be utilized fully.
As suggested above, there will regular writing, projects and some assigned readings beyond the textbook. Because of the importance of reasoning and communication, in-class work will be essential. In particular, attendance at all of every (or almost every) class is required. If you will miss all or part of class on a regular basis, you should not take this course.
Since this is a Credit/No Credit course on topics in elementary mathematics, one might assume that this would be an easy course, especially if one has a strong math background. On the contrary, to get Credit in the course, a student must achieve a satisfactory level in all components of the course, including writing and classroom participation. So the course will demand a significant and consistent amount of work from everyone, whatever her/his math background. On the positive side, consistent serious work should suffice for a Credit grade, even if a student brings a weaker math background.
There will be some tests and also a final exam at the regularly scheduled time, but it will not be the conventional sort of exam.
Note that this is a content course, not a methods course. While we will aim to model good teaching techniques, we will be addressing mainly questions of mathematical content, not methods for teaching elementary school students. If you enter the Teacher Education Program in the UW College of Education, you will take a methods course on teaching elementary mathematics.