MATH 151:  Geometry for Elementary School Teachers

Winter 1999



Instructor:     Dr. Theresa J. Grant                                  Office: 4427 Everett Tower   

Phone:            387-3842                                             e-mail:

Office Hours: Tuesdays 3 - 4pm,  Thursdays 2 - 3pm,  and by appointment.


Course Description


This course is designed to give prospective teachers a deeper understanding of geometry and measurement.  We will primarily use small groups and discovery learning to develop an understanding of this material.  Emphasis will be placed on reasoning skills and communication of mathematical ideas.  Correct answers are still important, but I will also be interested in your ability to talk about your solutions and provide evidence that your solution is correct. 


The format of the course will mainly be small group investigations followed by whole class discussion and extension questions from your packet for homework.  Active participation in the activities and discussions is expected.  I encourage everyone to share their thoughts and ideas with classmates in small group, and whole class discussion.  It is crucial that you participate seriously and thoughtfully in the mathematical investigations we do in this class.  I expect you to display professionalism as future teachers and reflect seriously upon how elementary and middle school students might think if they did some of the activities we engage in. 


We make extensive use of two computer software packages that are used in elementary schools: Logo and Sketchpad.  We use these programs for a variety of reasons including:

      1)   these programs allow you to explore geometric concepts

      2)   these programs are the most likely programs you will encounter in elementary classrooms

      3)   the university has a computer literacy requirement, and you are fulfilling this requirement by writing computer programs in your math content courses instead of taking an additional course in computer programming.


Every attempt will be made to help you develop an understanding of the formulas and theorems for geometry and measurement that you learned when you were in elementary and middle school.  As a result, at the end of the semester, you should feel better prepared to help elementary and middle school students understand these concepts.


Course Prerequisite


Completion of Math 150, or its equivalent, with a grade of C or better.  Those not meeting this course prerequisite will be automatically dropped from the course by the Department of Mathematics & Statistics.



Course Materials

Mathematics for Elementary Teachers: A Contemporary Approach, Fourth Edition, by Musser & Burger.


An $8.50 fee payable (by check) to the Department of Mathematics & Statistics is required to support the cost of duplicating additional materials for the course.   I suggest you purchase a 3-ring binder (at least 2 inches thick) to hold these additional materials.Course Requirements


All assignments must be submitted on time.  The major requirements of the course are:


1.   Group Projects.  There are 2 group projects scheduled: one on Logo and one using measurement and similarity ideas.  Some in-class time will be devoted to the completion of these projects.  You will also need to spend time outside of class with your group members to complete projects.


2.   Mathematical Reflections.  You have various pages in your packet entitled “Mathematical Reflections.”   These pages contain questions that highlight the important ideas from the investigations we do in class.  Occasionally, you will be required to submit a response to these questions.  Whether or not you are required to submit your answers, you should always think about these questions as a good preparation for exams.


3.   Logo and Sketchpad Workpages.  We will be working with two different types of geometry software: Logo and Geometer’s Sketchpad.  You will be required to work with a partner to complete various assignments or workpages on Logo and Sketchpad.  Some of these will be collected and graded.


4.   Exams.  You will be required to take two in-class exams and one final comprehensive exam.  Make-up exams are only given when student contacts me immediately to inform me of an unavoidable absence and the student can document this excuse. 


The following is an outline of how your final grade will be computed:


           Major Assessments (In-class exams, group projects)                   Ň 60% of final grade

           Many Minor Assessments (e.g., reflections, workpages)             Ň 15% of final grade

           Comprehensive Final Exam                                                          Ň 25% of final grade


IF ALL the course requirements have been met, course grades will be assigned according to the following scale:

      A         93% - 100%                CB       77% - 81%                  D         60% - 65%

      BA                  88% - 92%                  C         71% - 76%                  E          Below 60%

      B         82% - 87%                  DC      66% - 70%     


Attendance Policy

In a laboratory-oriented course such as this, attendance and participation are essential.  Absences will greatly decrease the value of this course.  More than two absences, excused or unexcused,  will lower your grade by one letter.  No student will receive a grade of C or better with excessive absences (5 or more) regardless of average on graded assignments.  Attendance will be taken at the beginning of class.  If you are late, it is your responsibility to notify the instructor (after class) of your presence.  [If you are late excessively (more than twice), each late will count as half an absence.]


Policy on Incompletes:

Three conditions must be met for an incomplete: 

(1)    you must have completed most of the coursework;          
(2)    your current grade is DC or better;  and   

(3)    circumstances beyond your control prevent the completion of the coursework on time. 

All incomplete grades must be approved by the Chair of the Mathematics Department.




The course will be divided into five major sections.  The tentative schedule is given below is subject to change.


January 5 - January 28                     Polygons and Their Properties

                                                         Musser-Burger, Sections 12.1, 12.2, 12.3

                                                         Logo Programming and Workpages

                                                         Group Project: City Scene


February 2 - February 16                 Area and Perimeter

                                                         Musser-Burger, Sections 13.1 &  13.2       


February 16                                               EXAM 1


February 18 - March 16                   Similarity and Congruence

                                                         Musser-Burger, Sections 14.1, 14.2 and 14.5

                                                         Group Project: Plan a Park


March 16 - March 30                                3-Dimensional Shapes,Surface Area and Volume

                                                         Musser-Burger, Sections 12.5, 13.3, 13.4


March 30                                                               EXAM 2


April 1 - April 15                             Construction and Geometric Proof

                                                         Musser-Burger, Sections 12.3, 14.3, 14.4

                                                         Sketchpad Workpages


Monday, April 19                                                FINAL EXAM

   8 - 10 am

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