Philosophy and Goals
The mathematics curriculum is designed to develop mathematical power in each and every student, and to help students understand and appreciate the importance of mathematics in our rapidly changing world. Mathematically powerful students are able to think and communicate, drawing on mathematical ideas and using mathematical tools and techniques (Mathematics Framework for California).
Mathematical thinking refers to:
- logical reasoning, by which students can make and test conjectures, develop counter-examples, understand logical arguments, determine the validity of arguments, and devise logical arguments of their own;
- problem solving, through which students can attack mathematical situations with a variety of approaches and techniques, and through which they can formulate and test mathematical models of real-world situations;
- making connections among mathematical topics, and between mathematics and other disciplines
Mathematical communication refers to:
- expressing one‘s mathematical ideas with precision and clarity, both orally and in writing, which involve either the use of mathematical language and symbolism, the English language, or both.
Mathematical ideas refer to:
- specific mathematical topics such as algebra, geometry, trigonometry, functions, statistics, probability, etc.
- unifying ideas, which cut across specific topics, such as identifying and describing patterns, developing and using algorithms, mathematical modeling, mathematical justification of ideas, etc.
Mathematical tools and techniques refer to:
- literal tools such as calculators, computers, and manipulatives;
- figurative tools such as computational algorithms, graph, tables, charts, etc.
Methods of Instruction
A combination of lecture, group and individual classroom work will be used, with extensive use of discovery and inquiry which places responsibility on the students to be active in the learning process. Reinforcement and review of previously studied concepts will be emphasized in order to allow students time to gain mastery of the material.
Requirements and Guidelines
All students are required to take and pass three years of math. This requirement can be met in one of several ways:
- Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 (if Algebra 1 is taken as a freshman), or
- Geometry, Algebra 2, and Precalculus (if Geometry is taken as a freshman), or
- Algebra 2, Precalculus, and a calculus or statistics course (if Algebra 2 is taken as a freshman).
Note: While it is sometimes permissible to take a math course during summer school, a math course taken during summer school does not count as one of the three required years of math. For example, if a student took Algebra 1 as a freshman, Geometry in summer school, and Algebra 2 as a sophomore, the student would still need to take one more year of math to meet the graduation requirement.
Honors courses are offered at each level except for Algebra 1. Admission into Geometry, Geometry Honors, Algebra 2, or Algebra 2 with Trigonometry Honors as a freshman is dependent upon a satisfactory placement test score. Specific prerequisites for subsequent honors courses are indicated in the course description for that particular course.
The Math Department provides instruction on test-taking techniques, the various types of question and formats, and experience with SAT questions within some of its courses.