Term: Yearlong 2020–21, September 8–May 28
Target Grade Levels: Grades 7–8; 9th–12th graders welcome (see placement details below)
Schedule: 3x / week, 60–75 min.
Course Sections (choose one)
Section 1: M/T/Th 11:00 a.m. ET with Charity Jacobson
Section 2: M/W/F 12:30 p.m. ET with Fransell Riley
New Placement Process: Click to Read
- if the student falls outside of the stated age/grade range for the class.
- if the student needs to demonstrate a certain level of skill and proficiency for the course.
- if the student has completed prerequisite requirements somewhere other than Scholé Academy (e.g., at home or with another school). In this case, our instructors will need to verify that the student has adequately fulfilled the prerequisite requirements.
- if a placement assessment has been recommended by a Scholé Academy instructor.
- If a placement evaluation has not been administered, withdrawals requested before May 1 are granted a full refund, including the full $75 deposit.
- If a placement evaluation has been administered, withdrawals requested before May 1 are granted part of their $75 refund: $35 will be paid to the instructor for the placement evaluation, and the remaining $40 of the original deposit will be refunded.
The objective of a pre-algebra course is to serve as a transition from arithmetic to algebra. Students will build upon skills learned in arithmetic and begin to learn algebraic concepts. Guided by the instructor, students will develop fluency in working with rational numbers and integers; explore relationships between fractions, decimals, and percents; and develop competency in algebraic expressions, linear equations, polynomials, and inequalities. Course content will also include problem-solving, geometry, data analysis and prediction, and graphing. Students will explore connections between math and everyday applications through problem-solving and hands-on activities. Students will be required to demonstrate understanding through oral discussions and written explanations, and by working problems numerically.
Classes involve Socratic discussions, interactive lectures, interactive computer activities, peer problem presentations, collaborative group assignments, competitions, and games. The content of the course extends beyond the book. Throughout the course, we begin lessons with a study of math as a subject. We learn about the history of math and the people who discovered the methods we are studying. We discuss how early mathematicians were led to developing the concepts, and why they are relevant to us. We study math the way the first mathematicians did; studying some of the same problems and reconstructing their methods in uncovering mathematical truths. With this framework in place, now having discovered the truth, we turn our attention to practicing the truth. We work examples and problems which help us deepen our understanding of the concept. Lastly, we learn how to use math; how to use and recognize it in real-life applications, how to use the concept to extend our understanding to new math concepts, or use the concept to extend our knowledge in other fields.
The course also includes an element of problem solving. It is my goal to convey to students that mathematics is about much more than numbers and computation. It encompasses analytical, logical, and creative thinking. Therefore, we spend time working on our problem-solving ability. Students are presented open-ended problems that do not lend themselves to a prescribed formula or algorithm. Such problems require them to develop and employ problem-solving strategies. Consequently, the course serves an excellent preparation not only for further mathematical studies but also for the study of formal logic, such as Scholé Academy’s Formal Logic: Discovery of Deduction course.
Student output consists of completing homework, classwork, labs, projects, and assessments. In all cases, student work is graded for taking an appropriate approach, providing an accurate answer, and utilizing clear communication in the form of supporting their work by showing their thinking.
Pre-algebra is a foundational course for all future mathematics courses and several future science and business courses; additionally, algebraic thinking is a skill that permeates daily life. Thus, the course is designed to develop algebraic thinking, in lieu of simply presenting steps and tricks to solve problems. The pace of the course averages one-lesson per day; depending on difficulty. The mathematical ability of the students varies and they do not all struggle with the same content. Therefore, lab work is provided to differentiate learning based on student needs. Students who have mastered the content are provided with challenging problems that require synthesis and analysis while students who would benefit from more review are provided that opportunity.
Placement: Please read about our new process above.
- This course is designed for students who have successfully completed a robust Arithmetic curriculum.
- Mathematical acumen is an important component of placement in this course, however, the student should also be prepared to exhibit a minimal level of executive functioning skills. Such skills would include the ability to focus during the class, avoid distracting behavior, take notes, monitor and submit assignments, navigate web-based technology including downloading, saving, and uploading files, respond to teacher feedback on graded assignments, communicate with the teacher when they do not understand, and participate in class activities.
High School Credit: This course is the equivalent of one high school credit in mathematics.
Syllabus: View course syllabus here.
Time Commitment: The average student should plan to study mathematics for 60-90 minutes on each (of the two days) that we do not meet for classes. Additionally, they should spend 10-20 minutes on class days reviewing or summarizing their notes. The difficult of mathematics varies with content, therefore, there may be times when less of more time is required to obtain mastery. This could include (sometimes) studying on Saturdays.
Parental Involvement: Parents expectations are simply to ensure that the student has all of the required materials needed for the course, a stable internet connection, a distraction free environment during class, and adequate time to study outside of class hours. Parent assistance with assignments is not expected and should not be required. However, if your student is accustomed to having your assistance with math, there will likely be a transition period as they build their level of tolerance and confidence in working math independently.
A Typical Class: A typical class opens with a brief review of previously covered content. This review connects the previous lesson to the current lesson. The premise of the current lesson is presented via a question or idea. The students now have a puzzle or idea that they want to delve deeper. As we delve deeper into answering the question at hand, we begin to discover the new mathematical concept. We are using our prior knowledge and intuition to uncover a new truth about mathematics. Once this truth has been uncovered, we begin to work examples; first as a class and then as individuals or in groups. As our understanding of the concept deepens, we extend our knowledge base to include specific cases or situations that lead to minor adjustments in the truth that we have uncovered – thus expanding the truth. A discussion takes place that reveals the relevance of this truth in our mathematical studies or our daily lives (real life application). Students continue to study the new truth and deepen their understanding of it via homework assignments. In subsequent classes, students will continue to study the concept and its relationship to new truths that will be revealed.
We use a variety of methods to uncover new truths. The most frequent method is a Socratic style discussion that the entire class participates in. Alternative methods are interactive computer activities, group assignments, class competitions and games.
A word from course instructor, Dr. Fransell Riley, on teaching math classically:
When teaching mathematics, my main goal is to infuse students with a passion and eagerness to excel in their study of math. I attempt to connect math to everyday applications, putting math into context with the world around them, taking their learning beyond simply memorizing steps and tricks. I focus on developing the ability to think algebraically. We discover the concepts and while uncovering truths about the concept, we discover the steps or patterns that become an algorithm for solving such problems. I encourage students to learn to embrace the challenge and frustration presented by mathematics. I believe that mathematics is suited perfectly for a classical teaching approach. It provides the perfect forum for the students to develop the virtues of patience and perseverance: patience in accepting the struggle that they encounter while learning a new concept, and perseverance to endure the mistakes and uncertainty that take place while mastering a concept. Mathematics also serves as a constant reminder that sloth and pride (represented by attempting to skip steps while working a problem, failing to work in a neat and orderly fashion, or failing to seek appropriate assistance when needed) will surely lead to failure. Algebra represents a precarious stage of their mathematics development as mathematics begins its transition from the concrete to the abstract. The foundation, upon which the remainder of their mathematics success will depend, is being laid. My passion is fueled by joining students in establishing this foundation during this precarious transition. When they leave my class, I hope that I have helped them to build the resilience, work ethic, algebraic thinking, problem solving skills, and confidence that they will need to face the challenges awaiting them in future.
- Glencoe Pre-Algebra, 2008 edition (NOTE: The instructor has chosen the 2008 edition for this course. While there is a newer edition available, the core content has not changed, and the 2008 edition can be purchased at a much lower price.)
- Digital tablet, such as this one from Amazon. (NOTE: Using a digital tablet in class allows students to more fully engage the course content by working out math problems on the digital whiteboard. We recommend the Wacom Intuos tablets, though similar products may be used.)
- Three-ring notebook
- Notebook paper
- Five dividers
- Three sharpened pencils with erasers
- Graph paper
- Drawing compass or bullseye compass
Other Required Materials
- Google account – for Google Classroom and other educational products
- PDF Escape – account for PDF assignment completion
- TBD – We will utilize technology throughout the course which may require students to create an account to access the product. This will be communicated as needed.
Other tools you may need access to (accounts are not required)
- Demos Online Graphing Calculator
- Virtual Algebra Tiles
- Virtual Manipulatives
*Required materials are not included in the purchase of the course.
Dr. Fransell Riley spent most of her career working as a quantitative analyst. She earned her PhD in mathematics from the University of Texas at Arlington with every intention of remaining in corporate America. Though she enjoyed her work, she ultimately responded to an internal call to pursue a passion for educating students, including her own children. Fransell has taught math and science to students of all ages from elementary school to college. While teaching, she noticed that her natural teaching style aligned almost perfectly with the concepts of classical education. She takes a holistic approach to teaching and involves her students in discussions aimed at developing a deeper understanding of the concept being taught with the desire that student learning extend beyond memorizing algorithms. Fransell has a passion for mathematics and seeks to share that passion with the next generation. Beyond math, Fransell enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons. They are all athletes and nature lovers; they enjoy participating in sports, hiking, exploring nature, and traveling. When they aren’t enjoying God’s creation, you can find them indoors reading or watching reruns from the Star Trek series
Charity Jacobson is always ready for an adventure, whether it be a walk in the rain, taking a last-minute 2-day tour of Norway, or being taught by Ukrainian children to catch jellyfish without being stung. Her love for children influences much of her life as she enjoys teaching children from her community and often travels internationally to develop relationships with children who don’t have families of their own. At every encounter with children, Charity endeavors to see the world through the eyes of those children and to interact with them on a level that is easy for them to understand. Each child is uniquely gifted by God, and she enjoys nurturing them to be exactly who God has made them to be. She is currently pursuing an MA in biblical studies from the Master’s University. Teaching both adults and children is a pleasure for her. The greatest reward for her is when she sees her students master the material and turn around and teach it to someone else, or become so passionate about the subject that they begin to surpass her in knowledge. email@example.com
Computer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.
High-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.
Headset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm
Zoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. To download Zoom:
- Visit zoom.us/download.
- Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
- Open and run the installer on your computer.
- In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.
Digital Tablet: Using a digital tablet in class allows students to more fully engage the course content by working out math problems on the digital whiteboard. We recommend using a Wacom Intuos tablet like this one, though similar products may be used.
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First, read the available course descriptions, noting prerequisites, target grades, and course objectives. If you think your student is prepared for the course, go ahead and register. After registration, a placement assessment may be provided to students, depending on the course and the student’s previous enrollment with Scholé Academy. Registration is finalized when the student’s placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.
Read the Student-Parent Handbook.
Please take careful note of our teaching philosophy, our technology requirements, our school policies, the parent agreement, and the distinctions between our grade levels.
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Our Assistant to the Principal will be in touch with you after your enrollment to help you with next steps, including any placement evaluations that may be required for your course selections.
This registration will be finalized when the student's placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.