MATH 576: Math in Middle Schools II

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Prerequisite: MATH 565 with a grade of C or better; or BA Math Concentration in Teaching majors; or permission of the instructor.

Continues to prepare students with content knowledge needed to teach algebra in middle school. Begins work in probability and statistics.

Course Description

Math 576 is one of a collection of three courses that support a supplemental teaching authorization in mathematics (Math 575, 576, 577). The ideas are all applicable outside of the formal school setting in careers that involve communicating mathematics in managing or training people of any age. The foundations of many activities and assignments in the course are drawn from curriculum materials developed for middle and high school. The course is designed primarily to improve understanding of the mathematics encountered in middle school (e.g., grades 6, 7, 8). The course focus is on the development of reasoning and problem solving, particularly mathematical argumentation, justification, proof writing and validation to support learning of probability, statistics, data analysis, and algebra. Topics include:

  • probability: pose, solve, and explain problems by finding probabilities, particularly in school and community contexts;

  • data analysis and statistics: pose, solve, and explain problems using concepts of descriptive and basic inferential statistics in school, social, economic, political, and community contexts

  • graphing and visualization applications: pose, solve problems with, and discuss appropriate use of graphing and data visualization applications (e.g., Desmos, Wolfram Alpha);

  • algebra: pose, solve, and explain problems using concepts of pre-algebra and algebra, particularly in school, social, economic, political, and community contexts;

  • linear problems and distinguishing linear from nonlinear situations: solve problems, particularly involving linear functions, using different representations such as symbolic, graphical, tabular, and verbal in varied contexts;

  • mathematical modeling: identify, pose, and solve non-routine problems by finding patterns and fitting formulas to information (e.g., data, information drawn from a description of a situation);

  • develop clear explanations: write clear explanations of mathematical reasoning and productively critique the reasoning of others in context.

Course Goals

Over the course of the semester, students in Math 576 will:

  • learn mathematics that was not previously known,

  • deepen understanding of mathematical ideas that are already familiar,

  • expand ideas of what mathematics is, including what "counts" as mathematics,

  • increase skill in posing, investigating, and solving problems and validating solutions,

  • examine the processes in teaching and assessing mathematics.


Materials will be distributed in class and through Canvas. Bring to class paper, graph paper, writing utensils, and access to the internet (e.g., laptop).

Attendance and Class Participation

In-class participation is an essential component of this course. The class policy for respectful participation includes limited use of headset/earbuds (during individual work time) and portable digital devices (cell phones).


Submitted by Eric Hsu, May 16 2024