Teaching Middle Grades Mathematics Certificate Program - Graduate - 2013 University Catalog

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Many teachers in the middle grades are assigned mathematics classes but do not have the necessary specialized preparation to effectively teach today's recommended curriculum, which is dramatically different from what it was fifteen years ago. This five course certificate program is specifically designed to provide those teachers with the background and education they need.

The primary objective of the Certificate in Teaching Middle School Mathematics is to increase the mathematical knowledge and related pedagogical skill of New Jersey middle grade mathematics teachers. The program is designed for teachers, with New Jersey certification in disciplines other than mathematics and closely related fields, who are teaching mathematics in the middle grades or preparing for such an assignment. The program of study provides teachers with an understanding of the fundamental principles that underlie school mathematics while at the same time making connections to the mathematics they will teach. Teachers who successfully complete the sequence of five courses will be able to make connections across the mathematics curriculum and to other disciplines. Their increased content knowledge and pedagogical skill will result in an observable, enhanced level of enthusiasm and comfort with mathematics, which will in turn foster a deeper understanding, and appreciation of mathematics in their students.

A secondary objective of the certificate is to increase the number of students in the middle grades who are academically prepared to succeed in a first course in Algebra, either in middle school or when they enter high school. Students thus prepared will have more options in terms of high school course selection, post high school education and career paths.

Possible transfer of credit to an MS program: Teachers who successfully complete the certificate will have the option to continue with a program of study leading to a Master of Science degree focused on the teaching of middle school mathematics. That degree program is designed to further increase the mathematical knowledge and pedagogical skill of middle grades teachers and to prepare them to be teacher leaders in their buildings, districts and, for some, at the state and regional level.

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Course Descriptions:

MTHM505: Number and Operations in the Middle Grades (3 hours lecture)

Topics are organized around the fundamental concepts of number and operations with them. This course prepares middle-grade teachers to help their students understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers, number systems, operations on numbers, how to compute fluently and how to make reasonable estimates. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Acceptance in the certificate or Master's program in Teaching Middle Grades Mathematics (TMGM) and permission of the graduate program coordinator.

MTHM506: Algebra and Algebraic Thinking in the Middle Grades (3 hours lecture)

Topics from pre-algebra and algebra are studied to prepare middle-grades mathematics teachers to enable all students to understand patterns, relationships and functions; represent and analyze mathematical situations and structures using algebraic symbols; use mathematical models to represent and understand quantitative relationships; and analyze change in various contexts. Topics initially approach algebra from a numerical perspective. Strategies for gradually increasing the use of variables and abstract thinking with middle-grade students are discussed. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: MTHM 505 and permission of graduate program coordinator.

MTHM507: Geometry for Middle-Grade Math Teachers (3 hours lecture)

Topics are organized around the fundamental concepts of geometry, the use of geometric thinking as a problem-solving tool, and the methods and techniques needed to help students understand and apply these concepts and skills in the middle grades. Teachers gain the knowledge needed to enable their students to develop spatial sense and an ability to use geometric properties and relationships to solve problems in mathematics and in everyday life. Specific emphasis is placed on recognizing, visualizing, representing, and transforming geometric shapes in two and three dimensions. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: MTHM 505 and permission of graduate program coordinator.

MTHM508: Data Analysis and Probability in the Middle Grades (3 hours lecture)

Topics include the basics of collection, summarization, and interpretation of data, and the fundamental ideas of probability. Sampling techniques, experimental design, graphical and numerical summarization of data and the basic ideas of drawing conclusions from data are discussed. Methods for teaching these concepts in the middle grades are discussed in tandem as the material is presented. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: MTHM 505 and permission of graduate program coordinator.

MTHM509: Measurement in the Middle Grades (3 hours lecture)

Topics are organized around the fundamental and unifying topic of measurement. What attributes of an object are measurable? How are those attributes measured? What system of measurement should be used? What are the units and how are the results converted to other systems? Measurement is a topic that is found across the school curriculum, not just in the mathematics curriculum, and thus it is a topic that can be used to develop cross-subject discussions and investigations. Methods for teaching measurement in the middle grades are discussed in tandem with the content being studied. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: MTHM 507 and permission of graduate program coordinator.