The Story of Algebra - Full year Course
Schedule: This is a Self-Paced Course
Grade Span: 6th, 7th and 8th
About This Course
Algebra builds upon Greek geometry and marks the next great leap in the history of mathematics. It truly gave life to the static mathematical structures developed by Euclid and it breathed flexibility into his immovable, sterile squares and circles. Algebra allowed these shapes to stretch and morph into the living, moving shapes, which define reality as we know it. Algebra is a set of mathematical tools, through which we can create models describing the countless phenomena occurring everywhere. What can you create and what can you explain using the tools of algebra?
As part of this great leap forward, mathematicians viewed their subject as a wide-open landscape beckoning new discoveries, not as some pre-ordained system with a fixed set of rules. “What happens if you try this?” is their guiding question. In the Story of Algebra, this is our guiding question. Students create the tools of Algebra on their own and ultimately discover the rules which seem to make the subject so versatile and useful. Mathematicians of history wondered if it was possible to literally overlay physical space with a system of mathematical points to facilitate rigorous descriptions of movement through space. In this course, students experience their own journey of mathematical discovery and probe how to explain our world through the tools of algebra.
- Solving for one unknown in an algebraic equation (ideally, students should have taken or be currently taking pre-algebra or algebra)
- Graphing Skills: determine scale for coordinate axes, properly drawing and labeling axes
- Familiarity with the Scientific Method and simple experimental design,
- Ability to collect and record their own data
- Basic knowledge of or exposure to general chemistry is recommended (e.g. structure of atoms, types of molecular bonds, polarity, acids and bases, and converting between grams and moles)
- Unit 1 - Coherent Operations
- Unit 2 - Solving for Unknowns
- Unit 3 - Recursions and Series
- Unit 4 - Linear Equations
- Unit 5 - Quadratic Equations
- Unit 6 - Polynomials
How a Self-Paced Course Works
Students advance through a series of really interesting labs. Each lab goes like this:
Kid takes materials out of a box
Kid watches a 3-minute video
Kid runs a 10-30-minute lab. (Kid is pumped up!)
Kid does a lab write-up and a little problem set for quick feedback
Kid watches a concluding video and moves to the next lab!
In addition, there are bonus videos and readings and even a problem set designed to deepen an intuitive understanding of the topics.