The ESA mathematics department provides courses that are grounded in foundational mathematical content, but emphasize students’ critical thinking skills with respect to logical thinking and data analysis. All of the math courses at ESA focus on creating a classroom of students that can work independently, problem solve persistently, and use patterns they observe to make overarching connections. All courses require students to work in groups, complete homework assignments, and develop a portfolio of projects.
By using an investigative approach, this course will introduce students to concepts of geometry while strengthening their algebra skills by integrating the two. Students will become acclimated to the language, symbolism, and importance of Euclidian Geometry. They will explore and conjecture about the properties of triangles, lines, and angles by attempting to defend their logical reasoning with verifiable statements. This course will endeavor to strengthen the student’s’ ability to reason, use visual thinking and models to problem solve, recognize patterns/relationships, and to clearly and effectively communicate their thought processes and solutions.
This course is designed to teach students the fundamentals of calculus. Students will begin the course by reviewing the concept of a function, then moving on to the ideas of limits and continuity, and finally will formally learn differentiation (they have already been introduced to the general power rule last semester in their final project and the idea of a derivative without being given a name for it) and how to apply it. This will set students up for next semester, when students will learn integration and how to apply it to area and volume problems. We will constantly be reviewing topics from last year’s pre-calculus course as needed to strengthen problem-solving, graphing, and algebra skills, all of which will be helpful in whichever math courses students wind up taking next year (and in college).
Computer science principles will focus on the iterative development and the logic of writing code, rather than emphasizing a specific language and syntax. Students will use Snap!, an online platform to create programs that will showcase their understanding of building an algorithm, making algorithms more efficient and easy to understand by using abstraction (hiding details), and analyzing and debugging faulty code. Additionally, the course will ask students to explore the implications of technology on our society, culture, and economy by asking them, “Is technology good or bad?”