Mathematics for Elementary Teachers II

MATH 222, Spring 2014

Benedictine University


Basic Information

Team Homework

Academic Honesty

Course Description

Learning Logs

Academic Accommodations For Religious Obligations (AAFRO)

Course Goals


Electronic Devices Policy


GeoGebra Project

Other Information


Final Assignment and Oral Exam

Assignment Schedule

Technology Requirement

Attendance and Tardiness

Dr. Tim Comar's Homepage 

Basic Information:

Instructor: Dr. Timothy D. Comar

Location:  BK 236

Office: Birck 128

Phone: 630-829 - 6555

Time: Monday, Wednesday: 3:00 p.m. – 4:40 p.m.


Web Site:http



D2L login:

Office Hours:


1:45 p.m.-2:45 p.m.


1:45 p.m.-2:45 p.m.


11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.


9:15 a.m.-12:00 p.m.


By Appointment


T. Bassarear, Mathematics for Elementary School Teachers, 5e, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2012.

T. Bassarear, Mathematics for Elementary School Teachers: Explorations, 5e, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2012.

Bassarear's Student Manipulative Kit, ETA/Cuisenaire®.

Technology: Graphing Calculators, Excel, and GeoGebra will be used throughout the course for demonstrations, activities, and projects. Desire to Learn will be used as an information and communication tool.

Back to Top

Course Description:

This course is designed to deeply explore mathematical content of elementary school mathematics.  Specifically, we will focus on data, statistics and probability, geometry, and measurement.  Our approach will primarily consist of cooperative, exploratory activities. This course is designed to reflect the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, the NCTM's Principles and Standards,  the Illinois State Board of Education's Content-Area Standards for Educators, and the Conference Board of the Mathematical Science publication, the Mathematical Education of Teachers.

Back to Top

Course Goals:

This course is designed to enable you to become a confident and successful teacher of elementary mathematics.  This course is specifically designed to help you develop and expand your mathematical compentency, understand the mathematical issues and complexities relevant to elementary school mathematics, and learn to apply the course material through improved thinking and problem solving. This course is also concerned with reinforcing and expanding your knowledge and understanding of fundamental mathematical principles.By the end of this course, you should be expected to develop a deep, confident, and working understanding of the aforementioned topics in elementary mathematics, appreciation of how the mathematical content appears in the elementary classroom and in society, and the increased problem solving abilities, which will enable you to develop a similarly deep understanding of other topics in elementary mathematics. 

Back to Top

Core Goals:

This course contributes to the science component of the core. The course is intended to enable students to continue to meet the following core goals:

1.      Demonstrate an effective level of cognitive, communicative (oral and written), and research skills;

2.      Achieve a college level of computational skills and an ability to understand and interpret numerical data;

3.      Acquire a knowledge of the history and heritage of western civilization to include: c) scientific literacy through a knowledge of the history, the methods, and the impact of science on the individual, society, and the environment;

5.      Apply liberal learning in problem solving contexts as preparation for active participation in society;

6.      Make informed ethical decisions that promote personal integrity, the legitimate rights and aspirations of individuals and groups, and the common good.

Back to Top

Learner Outcomes:

To successfully complete this course, the student will:

  1. Know and understand the NCTM Process Standards and Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice.
  2. Develop proficiency in multiple problem solving techniques
  3. Know how to recognize patterns in mathematical problems and know communicate mathematics coherently and clearly.
  4. Understand the importance of mathematical reasoning and proof and be able to construct mathematical arguments and proofs.
  5. Understand the importance of mathematical representation and be able to represent mathematical ideas in multiple ways.
  6. Understand the importance of connections among mathematical ideas.
  1. Understand and be able to implement the process of using statistics to answer a question by formulating the question, collecting data, representing and analyzing the data, and interpreting and representing the data using different types of graphs and tables.
  2. Be able to create and read different types of graphs and tables to represent data.
  3. Be able to work with measures of central tendency.
  4. Be able to determine and describe the spread of a data set.
  5. Be able to use the normal distribution to answer questions about normally distributed data.
  6. Use random sampling to draw inferences about a population.
  7. Draw informal comparative inferences about two populations.
  8. Understand, be able to explain, and be able to work with the concept of probability.
  1. Be able to identify, classify, draw, and reason with shapes.
  2. Understand and be able to apply transformational geometry.
  3. Understand how recognize and apply symmetry.
  4. Be able to understand and work different measurement systems.
  5. Understand, be able to make geometric measurements and calculations in two- and three-dimensions, and be able to apply these calculations to real world and mathematical problems.
  6. Demonstrate ability to successfully approach mathematics problems four different ways: geometrically, algebraically, numerically, and verbally (oral and written forms).
  7. Develop group work skills.
  8. Develop enhanced written and oral communication skills in the area of scientific communication.
  9. Use appropriate mathematical tools, including mental techniques, pencil and paper, manipulatives, calculators, or spreadsheets, or computer algebra systems to explore mathematical ideas and solve mathematical problems.
  10. Be able to reflect on mathematical knowledge and understanding.

These objectives wiill be acheived through readings, group and indiviual homework assignments, in class explorations, reflective writing, and exams. A detailed description of these objectives including specific assignments and connections to state and national standards can be found on the Objectives Grid.

Links to standards documents, which elaborate on the listed standards in the Objectives Grid can be found at the following websites:

Content-Area Standards for Educators:
Licensure Exam Website:
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM):
Illinois Learning Standards and Common Core Standards:

Back to Top


Your are expected to come to class regularly and on time.  You will not be admitted if you arrive more than fifteen minutes late. You are expected to work collaboratively or independently as assignments dictate and submit all required work on time.  Late papers will not be accepted.  I would expect that you will need to spend at least eight hours per week outside of class on this course.  Moreover, this is a 200-level mathematics course. The mathematical content and maturity developed in Math 112 is assumed in this course. Be prepared to assimilate concepts over time, look at content from different perspectives, reflect upon your learning as the course proceeds.  Ask questions!  If there is material with which you are not fully comfortable, you are expected to ask questions either during class or during office hours.

Even though this course addresses the content of elementary school mathematics, "elementary" does not imply that the course content is easy or trivial. It is our goal to develop a deeper understanding of the content elementary school mathematics so that you can become successful, effective, and vertisatile teachers and become life-long learners. There is a significant amount of homework in this course. If you are struggling with the content, you may need to devote more than the recommended number of hours. Please seek appropriate assistance to help you complete your work within a reasonable amount of time.

This course is specifically designed to help you become a successful professional as an elementary (or middle) school teacher. Therefore, professional conduct is expected in all aspects of this course inside and outside of the classroom. Respect for fellow classmates, the instructor, and the content is expected. As a positive attitude will be necessary part of your success as a teacher, a positive attitude is necessary in this course. Cell phones and pagers must be turned off. If yours rings during class, you will be expected to take your possessions and leave class for the day.

Back to Top

Technology Requirement:

Students are expected to use D2L for all course communications, accessing notes and course information, and the completion of certain assignments as indicated in this syllabus. All written homework, including Learing Log Reflections and homework assignments, are to be prepared using word processing software. The Student Manipulative Kit will be required for activities in class; students are required to bring this kit to class regularly..A calculator may be needed for some activities and homework. Excel will be used in at least one of the Explorations and may be needed for the homework exercises. GeoGebra will be used in class and out of class for geometry content and the course project.

Back to Top


Team Homework


Individual Homework


Learning Log (Other than Individual HW)


Explorations and In-Class Work


GeoGebra Project


Final Oral Exam


Final Assignment



The grading scale is 90% for A, 80% for B, 70% for C, and 60% for a D.  In addition to the above, every three unexcused absences will result in one letter grade reduction. It is the student’s responsibility to seek clarification of the course requirements and evaluation policy.

Back to Top

Team Homework:

Homework problems from the text are assigned to reinforce concepts addressed in the explorations and in the text.  Success with the these problems may also improve your performance on the Basic Skills Test. Problems will be collected on the dates listed on the syllabus.  You will be evaluated primarily on the quality and correctness of your team and individual homework solutions.  You will have the opportunity to resubmit homework until the instructor is satisfied with the quality, clarity, and correctness of the solution.  Only one paper will be collected from each homework team.  The grading rubric for team homework problems is as follows:


Correct answer and solution with appropriate details and labeling


Incorrect but close answer due to minor computational or miscopying error


Incorrect answer, but solution is generally on track; problems with one aspect of problem


Incorrect, but work shows some understanding of problem


Incorrect, but shows evidence of work beyond simply copying the given information


Problem not submitted on time


Studying mathematics is a social process. Much benefit can be gained by sharing insights and by struggling through problems with your peers.  Learn to work with each other and learn from each other. Some activities may require follow-up work and re-writing outside of class.   You are strongly encouraged to study and work with other class members.  You are also strongly encouraged to consult Dr. Comar outside of the class periods either during office hours or via e-mail at Resubmission of problems for additional credit is strongly encouraged.

Back to Top

Learning Logs:

The learning log is your record of your thinking process, ideas, and reflections on various homework questions and problems.  Here, the goal to concentrate on "making sense of ideas" rather than trying "to get it."  This is an appropriate place to focus of the fourth step in Polya's problem-solving strategy:  "looking back." This is also a good place to record your thoughts on why problem solutions work rather than just on how they work and connections between topics and discussions throughout the course. This is also a good place to pose questions, to which you can return and answer at a later time.  The learning log is designed for you to think deeply about the ideas and concepts in the course, to reflect on your understanding of these concepts, and to record your intellectual growth throughout the course.  To help with this, some additional questions will be posted on the course website for you to respond to in your learning log. Your final entries in your learning log will consist of documentation of your intellectual growth in this course; please keep track of all your and your progress throughout the term to prepare these entries. There will we three main sections in your learning logs: Exploration Reflections, Text and Problem Reflections, Individual Homework Problems.

Exploration Reflections:

For each exploration, BRIEFLY reflect on the following questions in your learning log:

  1. What content NCTM and Common Core standards were addressed? Explain how they were addressed.
  2. What NCTM process standards and Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice were addressed? Explain how they were addressed.
  3. What new insights did the exploration or activity help you make? Were any connections made between different mathematical concepts?
  4. What problem solving tools did you use in this exploration?
  5. What did you find difficult about the exploration?
  6. What is the relavance of the exploration?
  7. What thoughts do you have on implementing this content and a similar style activity?
  8. What further questions do you have abou the mathematical content? (You are REQUIRED to pose at least ONE question.)

Text and Problem Reflections:

For each section of the text and its corresponding exercise set, reflect on the following questions in your learning log:

  1. What key mathematical ideas are addressed?
  2. What new insights do you have about the content?
  3. What is the relevance of the content? Describe any "classroom connections" in the section.
  4. What did you find difficult about the content?
  5. What further questions do you have? (You are REQUIRED to pose at least ONE question.)


Please organize your reflections by numbering your responses according to the question listed above. One point will be awarded for each of the questions listed above. Occasionally, additional questions will be added to your reflections and will be awarded points for answering. You will be required to submit Exploration Reflections with your "SELF" homework problems for each Exploration completed in class since your last submission. You will be required to to submit Text and Problem Reflections with your "SELF" homework for the text section containing the problem set. As you develop your questions, you will likely raise good, pedagogical questions, which would will be addressed in your methods courses. Keep track of these questions in addition to your mathematical content questions, as you will be able to answer them down the road. Extra credit may be granted at the instructor's discretion for any of the following:  unsolicited connections between various aspects and topics, unsolicited answers to your own questions, unsolicited insights that you develop. 

Individual Homework:

Your learning logs will also contain your complete solutions for your individual homework problems. The same grading rubric and correction policy applies to both the individual and team problems. Corrected problems should be kept in this section as well. Please see above for details. Only six "self" problems will be collected per assignment. You may choose which six problems you will submit. Additional problems will count for extra credit if you have completed at least five problems correctly. Resubmission of problems for additional credit is strongly encouraged.

Your learning log is your record of your learning and growth throughout this course. Please organize your complete learning log in the following manner. Use a 3-ring binder. Separate your binder into 4 sections: Exploration Reflections, Text and Problem Reflections, Individual Problems, and Team Problems. Each component should be stapled and submitted in the grading box separately. Please staple your in class Exploration work to the corresponding reflection. Reflections should be typed so that both you and the instructor can read them. You are encouraged but not required to electronically prepare your homework assignments as well.

Back to Top


A significant part of your learning in this course, inside and outside of the classroom, will occur through working on discovery-based activities in the Explorations volume of the text.  These activities will consist of exploratory team activities, discussions, and written work.  Significant portions of the explorations will be submitted for evaluation, which will follow the same grading rubric as for the team homework problems.

Back to Top

GeoGebra Project:

This project will give you the opportunity to explore a basic geometric concept and then to create an demonstration of this geometric concept using the dynamic geometry software package, GeoGebra, which is widely used in schools and which is available for free.  You will be evaluated on your understanding of the geometric concept, the pedagogical value of your demonstration, and your presentation of your demonstration to the class.

Back to Top

Final Assignment and Oral Exam:

This assignment is designed to allow you explore some mathematical content, synthesize the content, and present a portion of your work to the class.  You will be given the assignment (a take home exam) the last day of class. This assignment will be due during the final exam period during which you will privately have a 10-15 minute oral exam.

Back to Top

Absence and Tardiness:

Absence due to documented illness, participation in Benedictine University athletic activities, religious observance, or other extenuating circumstances will be excused.  It is your responsibility to inform Dr. Comar in the event of such absences.  Class attendance is very important.  Others will depend on you for participation in class discussion.  It is incumbent upon you to obtain class notes and updated assignments for missed classes. No student shall be admitted fifteen minutes after the scheduled classtime. Every three unexcused absences will result in one letter grade reduction.

Back to Top 

Academic Honesty:

The search for truth and the dissemination of knowledge are the central missions of a university. Benedictine University pursues these missions in an environment guided by our Roman Catholic tradition and our Benedictine heritage. Integrity and honesty are therefore expected of all members of the University community, including students, faculty members, administration, and staff. Actions such as cheating, plagiarism, collusion, fabrication, forgery, falsification, destruction, multiple submission, solicitation, and misrepresentation, are violations of these expectations and constitute unacceptable behavior in the University community. The penalties for such actions can range from a private verbal warning, all the way to expulsion from the University. The University's Academic Honesty Policy is available at , and students are expected to read it. Acts of any sort of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated.  All instances will be pursued.  The first case of any academic dishonesty will result in a grade of zero for the assignment.  A second case will result in failure of the course. Any incident of academic honesty on the final exam will result in failure of the course.

Your name should appear on all of your submissions of your work.  If collaboration is allowed, you must state with whom you have collaborated.  You are responsible for understanding any authorized collaboriation policies on specific assignments. You must also properly reference any other print, electronic, or human resource that you consult.

Back to Top 

Academic Accommodations For Religious Obligations (AAFRO)

A student whose religious obligation conflicts with a course requirement may request an academic accommodation from the instructor. Students must make such requests in writing by the end of the first week of the class.

Back to Top 

Electronic Devices Policy

One aspect of being a member of a community of scholars is to show respect for others by the way you behave. One way of showing respect for others in the educational community is to do your part to create or maintain an environment that is conducive to learning. That being said, allowing your cell phone to ring in class is completely inappropriate because it distracts your classmates and thus degrades their overall classroom experience. For the sake of your classmates, you are expected to turn off your cell phone or set it to mute/silence BEFORE you enter class-every class. Furthermore, if you use your cell phone in any manner during class (e.g. text messaging, games, etc.), you will be dismissed from class and will forfeit any points you might have earned in the remainder of the period. If you use your cell phone in any manner during a test or quiz, you will receive a zero for that test or quiz. (This policy also applies to pagers, iPODs, BlackBerrys, PDAs, Treos, MP3 players and all other electronic communication and/or data storage devices.)

Back to Top 

Other Information:

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):

If you have a documented learning, psychological or physical disability, you may be eligible for reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, please contact Jennifer Rigor-Golminas in the Student Success Center, 012 Krasa Student Center, (630) 829-6512.   All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The University will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Final Drop Date: April 13, 2014

Back to Top

This syllabus is subject to change.  Any changes will be communicated to all class members electronically.

Contact Dr. Comar:

Dr. Tim Comar's Homepage 

Benedictine University Homepage | Department of Mathematics