Conceptual Mathematics II

Fall 2003


Instructor: Dr. Art Duval

Please feel free to come by my office any time during scheduled office hours. You are welcome to come at other times, but in that case you might want to make an appointment, just to make sure that I will be there then. You can make an appointment simply by talking to me before or after class, by calling me at my office or at home, or by sending e-mail.

You may also ask any questions directly via phone or e-mail. If I'm not in when you call, please leave a message on the voice-mail or answering machine with your name, number, and a good time for me to call you back. I will try to respond to your phone or e-mail message as soon as possible.

Block IF

This course is being team-taught with MSED 4309 (Social Studies Methods) and MSED 4310 (Math Methods), the other two courses in the block. You will teach some of the projects from this class to students at Wiggs Middle School on a regular basis, as part of MSED 4310, and the content for these two courses is somewhat aligned. Additionally, our class will model some of the techniques you will learn in both of the other classes. This is the first time these particular courses are being offered, and so we will probably have to make adjustments in the implementation as we go along. I encourage your ongoing feedback in this area.

Guiding Philosophic Principles

The purpose of this course is for you to become involved with a wide variety of situations and contexts which give rise to mathematical concepts essential for teaching grades 4-8. You will be expected to engage in a dialogue between grounded activity and systematic inquiry; this dialogue is what constitutes mathematics.


Projects (85%):
The bulk of class time will be spent on conceptually rich mathematical projects, each taking about a week. Working in small groups with your classmates, you will engage each problem or situation presented in class, and will attempt to describe and explain the results of that engagement in a written report. A description, experiment, explanation or proof is anything which is both meaningful to you and convinces other people of the validity of your thoughts, words and activities. Reports will be graded not only for answers, but also for descriptions of the process by which you arrived at your answers (see separate handout for details).

You must write your report yourself, except for occasional projects that will require group reports (one report for the whole group).

On the day reports are due, there will be a class discussion, with groups presenting various solutions. As a result, it is not possible to submit late project reports.

The lowest project grade will be dropped, and the highest project grade will count double.

Portfolio (15%)
At the end of the semester, you will engage in some structured reflection on the projects in a portfolio. Details will be announced later. The portfolio will be due on Thu., 4 Dec.


On-time attendance at all classes is required. Classes will begin promptly at the starting time. Every unexcused absence or lateness could reduce your final grade at the rate of 1 point per hour of missed class time. I will usually excuse an absence if you tell me about it in advance, or, in cases of emergencies, as soon as possible afterwards.

Drop date:

The deadline for student-initiated drops with a W is Mon., 20 Oct. After this date, you can only drop with the Dean's approval, which is granted only under extenuating circumstances.