MA 354 Course Description



Prerequisite: Admission to the methods phase of teacher education, junior standing, and MA250 and MA251 (elementary education majors); or at least two mathematics courses at the 300-level or above (secondary education majors). ED 349 should be taken concurrently or have been completed already.

Offered: Winter

Examination of the current middle school curriculum and effective methodology for this level. Field experiences are required.

Note: May not be applied toward a non-teaching major or minor in mathematics.

General Introduction and Goals
Examination of the current middle school curriculum and proposed curriculum revisions as well as effective methodology for this level. Field experiences are required.

MA354 is designed for secondary education and elementary level mathematics majors and will address the teaching of mathematics at the middle school level, grades 6-8, with Standards-based emphasis. The mathematics curriculum will be examined with attention given to the special needs and characteristics of the middle school student. There will be a great emphasis on activity-based learning. A 9-10 hour field experience in a middle school, documented in a semester journal, is a required component of the course.

Through various reading and analyses, discussions, problem solving activities and interactions with middle school students and teachers, the students will begin to build a philosophical foundation for the teaching of mathematics in the middle school.

Course Objectives

The students will:

  1. examine the current middle school curriculum, the NCTM Curriculum and Evaluation Standards, Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) objectives as embodied in the Michigan Curriculum Framework and the NCTM Principles and Standards of School Mathematics;
  2. examine and participate in different modes of instruction, including cooperative learning;
  3. study different approaches to curriculum through the examination and analyses of current text series;
  4. develop methods to teach problem solving strategies and investigative techniques;
  5. explore verbal, concrete, pictorial, graphical, and algebraic models as ways of communication mathematics to middle school students;
  6. examine the real numbers and various operations;
  7. explore the integration of geometry into the middle school curriculum;
  8. develop meaningful ways to use mental computation and estimation;
  9. examine the role of various manipulatives in teaching middle school mathematics;
  10. develop activities in quantitative literacy;
  11. explore lab activities that involve the use of the tools of measurement and measurement systems;
  12. examine algebraic models and special topics in algebra and their place in the middle school curriculum;
  13. explore the use of technology in the classroom;
  14. develop effective classroom management and planning techniques specific to the needs of middle school students.

Course Content

  1. General Overview of the Middle School Curriculum
    1. The curriculum standards by the NCTM (1989 and 2000 documents)
    2. The MEAP objectives and Michigan Curriculum Framework
  2. The Teaching of Mathematics in Middle School
    1. Problem solving, including investigative and pictorial techniques
    2. The real number system and operations, including various representations of fractions, decimals, percents and the relationship between them
    3. Proportional reasoning
    4. Mental computation and estimation and practical applications for these skills
    5. Patterns and functions
    6. The appropriate use of calculators
    7. Tools of measurement, both the English and metric systems; the ruler, compass, and volume measures in concerete geometric applications
    8. The use of manipulatives
      1. colored chips to model integer work
      2. pattern blocks to model operations with fractions and decimals
      3. the Geoboard to illustrate perimeter and area, and the relationship between them
      4. The MIRA to illustrate transformational geometry
      5. attribute blocks to illustrate categorizing and problem solving
      6. tiles to illustrate geometric relationships such as the Pythagorean theorem
    9. Collecting, organizing, and describing data as well as constructing and interpreting tables, graphs, and charts
    10. Experimental and theoretical probability models and simulations in the classroom
    11. Teaching algebra in the middle school classroom - the use of patterns, variables, exponents, and different ways to model and use equations to solve problems
  3. Technology in the Middle School Curriculum
    1. Software appropriate for this grade level
    2. Integration of technology into the classroom
  4. Instruction and Classroom Management
    1. Effective techniques for instruction and discipline
    2. Comprehensive lesson plans
    3. alternate teaching styles
    4. Procedures for assessment
  5. Field Experience
    1. Ten field experiences in a middle school mathematics classroom