Friday, March 4, 2011

Help! I volunteered to teach and on-line Algebra Course

So I "donated" an on-line Algebra course (1/2 semester) as part of a fundraiser for my kids HomeSchool Choir. You can categorize this under "Well if I commit to something publicly, I will figure out a way to do it." I should have categorized it under "Be careful what you ask for, you might get it". My motivation was:
  • I wanted to help the choir 
  • I enjoy working with kids
  • I was looking for a way to experiment with on-line learning
  • I would like to develop a curriculum using open source materials
While I agree with Papert "it doesn't much matter what mathematics we teach them as long as they are learning to reason like a mathematician."  That said if your are going to reason you need to reason about something, so I picked Algebra.

Here is the "Course Description" I sent:

An introductory On-Line Algebra/Geometry course for kids from 7th to 9th Grade:

Description: This course will help students not only be proficient in basic Algebra and Geometry manipulations (which are needed for Standardized tests) but also provide concrete experiences to help children develop a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts.  Course material will be based upon a variety of material including some Open Source, Algebra TextbooksGeogebra, Scratch, Etoys and other materials.  Students will have homework assignments, quizzes and tests during the semester.

Topics Covered:
Expressions, Equations and Functions

Schedule - The One Semester Course (18 weeks) will meet on-line for 90 minutes (mornings 8-9:30am, actual day will be negotiated amongst those signing up and the teacher).  There may be one or two "in-person" and time will be allotted (at least four 30 minute sessions per student for one-to-one tutoring via the Internet)

Teacher: Steve Thomas - studied for his Masters in Mathematics Education at Rutgers with Robert B. Davis.   He has also developed mathematics course material as a member of the education committee for Etoys which is part of One Laptop Per Child.


Bernadette said...


I have been teaching an online course for a few years now...I am not sure what your comfort level of online learning is.
In the beginning it was an adjustment. Time management was my biggest hurdle.
I started with an Algebra 2 course (mostly honors level students grades 8 and 9) with students from New England area and around the world.
Recently, I moved to an Algebra 1 course.
I started a few years ago through the Virtual High School (VHS)
program my high school joined.
It has been a wonderful experience.

MariaD said...

Steve, will this course be open to homeschoolers everywhere? Some of our local group kids may be interested.

Mr. Steve's Science said...

Maria, not sure if this version of the course will be open to all yet. I am doing this as a fundraiser and the course will start in September. I will keep folks posted.