Math

Math

Philosophy

The Math Department offers a comprehensive program from Algebra I to Multivariable Calculus, including opportunities to pursue less traditional elective courses and for qualified students, opportunities in AP AB Calculus, AP BC Calculus, and AP Statistics.  Our primary goal is to develop and instill in our students competence and confidence in mathematics.  We strive to equip our students with technical proficiency, strong problem-solving and logical reasoning skills, and an appreciation for the beauty and usefulness of mathematics. As a college preparatory school, we prepare our graduates for success at the post-secondary level.

We believe in engaging students in a dynamic and supportive classroom environment. We pose questions to get students thinking and encourage them to voice questions of their own.  Students are continually asked to articulate their thought process and justify their reasoning.  Though a facility with basic rules and formulas is important, we go beyond rote learning to promote creative thinking and conceptual understanding.  We appropriately incorporate technology and other teaching techniques to enhance learning.

We believe the best way to assess a student’s understanding is through traditional, independent testing and therefore, it is our primary tool for assessment.  However, alternative assessments, such as individual and group projects, are also used as part of the evaluation process in many courses.  Whenever appropriate, students are encouraged to work cooperatively to enhance each other’s learning.  In fact, it is quite common for formal and informal study groups to develop throughout the school year.  Additionally, students know their teachers are available and willingly provide extra help.

 

Graduation requirements

All students are required to complete three and one half years of math.  A sequence in the upper school through Algebra II plus one elective beyond Algebra II (either full year or one semester) constitutes a minimum program.  Advanced study is strongly advised.  Introduction to Computer Science and AP Computer Science may be considered mathematics electives.

 

Course offerings

  • Algebra 1
  • Geometry
  • Honors Geometry
  • Algebra 2
  • Honors Algebra 2
  • Precalculus
  • Honors Precalculus
  • Discrete Mathematics
  • Probability and Statistics
  • AP Inferential Statistics
  • Calculus
  • AP Calculus AB
  • AP Calculus BC
  • Honors Multivariable Calculus

Co-curricular Information:

 

New Jersey Math League

Once a month from October to March, some of our students participate in Math League contests.  The contests are open to the entire Upper School student body, and all are encouraged to participate.  Each contest covers a variety of branches in mathematics, and the questions are designed to promote creative problem-solving skills.  The goal of the contests is to encourage student interest and confidence in mathematics.

American Mathematics Competition

Every February, many of our top mathematics students compete in the American Mathematics Competition (AMC), a contest developed by the Mathematical Association of America  (MAA) and taken by students around the globe.  Our top mathematics students are invited to participate in this contest by their teachers.  This rigorous 75-minute, 25-question contest covers topics from Geometry to Number Theory.  Students who score in the top 5% of test-takers are invited by MAA to participate in the AIME (American Invitational Mathematics Examination)

Mu Alpha Theta

Mu Alpha Theta is a national mathematics honors society for high school students.  Each year, our top Sophomore, Junior, and Senior mathematics students are inducted into the society.  To be inducted, students must perform exceptionally well in challenging math classes throughout their Upper School career.  Induction requirements are strictest for students in their Sophomore year.

Moody’s Mega Math Challenge

Every March, a handful of our Junior and Senior students participate in Moody’s Mega Math Challenge.  In this internet-based one-day challenge, students work in teams to research a topic that relates mathematics to real-world problems.  Students have up to fourteen hours to research the topic and write a paper on their findings.  Students are encouraged to use original mathematical modeling in their solution papers.  The authors of the top six papers receive scholarships from The Moody’s Foundation.  This past March, students investigated the likelihood that the Stimulus Act would stimulate the U.S. economy.  The year prior to that, students researched the costs and benefits of using ethanol as an alternative fuel.

 

Website links of interest

Math League

http://www.themathleague.com/

The New Jersey Math League authors monthly contests that some of our students take to hone their problem-solving skills for the fun of it.

American Mathematics Competition

http://www.unl.edu/amc/

The American Mathematics Competition (AMC) is a challenging test taken by students around the world.  Every February, our top math students in the Upper School gather to compete in this challenge.

Mu Alpha Theta

http://www.mualphatheta.org/

Mu Alpha Theta is a mathematics honors society for high school students that our top students are inducted to each year.

Moody’s Mega Math Challenge

http://m3challenge.siam.org/

This annual internet-based competition challenges teams of high school students to use applied mathematics to analyze a pressing topical issue.

Imagining the Tenth Dimension

http://www.tenthdimension.com/medialinks.php

This video describes a way to imagine dimensions beyond the ones we can perceive.  It helps make some sense of a mind-boggling concept!

What is a Fractal?

http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/frac/

Though not often studied in a high school curriculum, these iterated shapes called fractals are frequently occurring in nature and have important applications in mathematics.