MAT 203 AB: Mathematics for Elementary Education I (3 hours)

Fall 2010, ASC127

Dr. Christine Leverenz, ASC102A, Phone: 8097, email:


Course DescriptionA detailed development of the mathematics taught in elementary school using a problem-solving approach. Topics include numeration, proportional reasoning, number theory, and, for whole numbers, fractions, and decimals, number sense and standard and non-standard algorithms. For elementary education majors only. Prerequisite: ACT math subscore of 19 or GSS105 or bypass credit for GSS105.  Fall.


Course Materials

Textbook:  Exploring Elementary Mathematics, 2010 edition by C. Leverenz.  This may only be obtained from The Store.

Calculator:  You must have a TI Math Explorer calculator; graphing calculators are not acceptable.  No other calculator may be used on tests.

Binder:  It is strongly recommended that you use a three ring binder to organize your textbook with your homework and notes.

You must bring the day’s class handout and your calculator to class each day. 


Course:  The MAT203 and 204 courses cover all elementary mathematics in the KY Program of Studies but at a much deeper level.  The approach used in this course depends on these four “big” ideas which form the basis for MAT203/204 and EDU315.


       All mathematics makes sense because new concepts are logical expansions of previous knowledge.  For example, fraction operation lessons should build on knowledge of whole number operations.

       Mathematics is active; the learner is constantly thinking, asking why, and working towards understanding.

       Understanding of mathematics is demonstrated by knowing concepts and solving problems using differing viewpoints including pattern recognition and creation, reasoning using concrete examples and symbolic representation, and mental computation. Students demonstrate that they “understand” when they can apply ideas in new situations or new types of problems (in other words, aren’t just parroting back what the teacher has just done).

       Written and oral communication aids mathematical understanding.  Classroom dialogue is an essential part of children’s learning; they learn from talking about problems – both explaining their own thinking and listening to others (therefore a teacher challenge is getting the student to LISTEN to each other!)





Requirements of the Course:

1. Daily work:  Class time is reserved for work that cannot easily be done individually including group problem solving, exploration of new ideas, oral presentations, and lecture.  Student participation is expected to be continuous and helpful.  Students are expected to speak only mathematics in class; students who make negative contributions will have points deducted from their daily work grade. 

Students regularly put problems on the board, orally explain the solutions, monitor and assess board problems.  Homework policies are listed more completely at the end of this document.  Because class communication of mathematics is such an important skill, there is a grade penalty for absence from class.  Cell phone, MP3 players, iPods, and other electronic devices are not allowed during class because it interferes with concentration and communication.


2.  Problem and Writing Portfolio:  You will submit writing pieces throughout the semester.  Most pieces will be related to in-class problems and homework.  The due dates for the writing pieces are posted on Scholar-Moodle.


3.  Basic Skills Quiz:  A quiz covering mechanical skills in place value, whole numbers, decimals, fractions, integers, and percents will be given the second week of class.  It will contain 24 questions and each question will be graded either right or wrong.  A student must earn 21 out of 24 on a Basic Skills Quiz to earn a grade of D or higher in the course.  Any student who does not earn 21 on the in-class quiz will have at most 2 make-up chances.  Make-ups will be given outside of class approximately every three weeks.  No calculators will be permitted for the basic skills quizzes. 


4.  Tests:  Because teaching is primarily an individual endeavor and because I must certify that you know deeply the math you are to teach, the work shown on three hourly tests and a comprehensive final provide the bulk of your class grade.  If you cannot take an hourly test you must get word to me before the test is given.  The makeup will usually consist of that portion of the final exam covering the missed material.  The tentative test schedule is posted on Scholar-Moodle; no student may spend more than two hours on a test. 


Course Outline:  The topics covered this semester include patterns, problem solving; numeration systems and their properties; models and properties of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division; algorithms for whole number, fraction, decimal and integer computations; ratio, proportion, and percents; real numbers.  It is assumed that you already know how to do elementary school computations; we explore the mathematical reasons why such computations are correct.  We cover one section of the text per class period.



1. Writing/problem pieces:  The rubric for a writing/problem piece will be discussed when the assignment is made.  Together they count up to one test grade.


2.  Basic skills:  A Basic Skills grade of 21 (out of 24) must be earned to have a chance at a grade of D or above in the course.


3.  Attendance:  Two unexcused absences or four excused absences will result in the final grade for the course being lowered to the next highest level.  Further absences, will result in the penalty being applied a second time. 


4.  Tests and course grading scale:  The grading scale for the course and for tests is

92 - 100 A

87 - 92 A/B


82 - 87 B

77 - 82 B/C


70 - 77 C       

60 – 70 D


Below 60 F

The writing/problem pieces and hourly tests count 55% of the final grade; the daily work counts 20% of the final grade; the final exam counts 25% of the final grade.   Your attendance and work record will influence borderline grade decisions.


Attendance:  Class attendance is required and no allowance in grades will be made for cuts.  If illness, college business, or some other legitimate excuse prevents you from attending it is up to you to inform me of this; it is your responsibility to be prepared for class on the day that you return.  TA assignments are not legitimate excuses for missing class.  Attendance is required to submit work.


Office Hours:  Please come to my office to get individual questions answered.  Unlike high school, class time is reserved for whole-class work and office visits are for individual problems.  Office hours are on Scholar-Moodle.  If you call my office and I don’t answer please leave a message; when speaking with someone in my office I don’t answer the phone.  If you miss class for an unexcused reason please do not come to my office for help on that material since it is not fair to the rest of the class to give one-on-one special teaching to those who do not see fit to attend class.


MAT103 Homework for Dr. Leverenz


1.  For all assignments, a yes/no or number answer must be accompanied by at least a one-sentence explanation of the logic behind the answer.  No explanation, no credit.


2.  Homework problems will be review, new material, problem solving, reading, computer work, and writing.  Most assignments also have one problem that is an introduction to the next day’s work.  There are very few drill and practice exercises; almost all problems are designed for you to think through familiar material in new ways or to solve unfamiliar problems.  Much of the problem solving is from a magazine for elementary teachers, “Teaching Children Mathematics” and is designed to be used in an elementary classroom.  You are expected to finish the in-class work and use this work as background for the homework.  Look up unfamiliar vocabulary in a dictionary or online!


3.  Corrections and additions to homework assignments and old tests will be posted on Scholar-Moodle that can be accessed on or off campus. 


4.  Homework OK’s                                      Homework No-no’s

    Any paper including straggly edges.          Multiple columns on one page.                                  

    Pen or pencil                                               No work or reasoning.

    Problems out of order.  Cross-outs.            Cramped papers – leave space between problems.

    Continuing problems on another page.


5.  The first 5 or 6 lines or first 1.5 inches of paper should be left blank until the end of the assignment.  In this section please tell me if you if you are particularly proud of a problem.  Also, you may ask a specific mathematical question about a particular problem.  This gives you an extra venue for communication, particularly if you could not make office hours one day. 


6.  If you want my feedback on homework you must leave me room to write – about 3 lines for a longer problem.  If I don’t have room to write I won’t be happy when writing comments.


7.  Homework will be spot-checked, meaning that I will select a few problems to grade carefully; the rest of your homework score will be determined by my overall impression of completeness and signs of effort.   The rubric for homework grading follows.  3’s earn 100% so a grade of 4 on a problem is extra credit.


4pts-  Above and beyond: uses exemplary methods, shows creativity, goes beyond the requirements of the problem.

3pts- Complete: completes task with no more than a minor error, uses expected approaches, communicates why an approach works.

2pts- On target:  completes task with minor errors or almost completes task, uses expected approaches, communicates what has been done rather than why.

1pt- Not there yet: makes significant errors or omissions, uses inappropriate approaches.

0pt- Problem not done, or no significant progress has been shown.


8.  It is fine for students to collaborate on homework as long as it is true collaboration on all problems – everyone is contributing equally to the solution.  All such collaboration on homework must be acknowledged, eg: I worked with or received help from (Source Name) on this problem. Such acknowledgments will not count against the paper.  Allowing people to copy your work and/or copying someone else's work is not ethical behavior and will be penalized when discovered. See the pages in the Student Handbook under Honor Code for the penalties associated with cheating. 


9.  Collected homework is due one-hour after class is over.  Homework must be submitted by the author.


10.  It is expected that the student will spend a minimum of 3 hours per class meeting on homework. 




Sample Basic Skills Quiz:  All fraction answers must be in lowest terms.  Problems will be graded right or wrong.  21 or more correct out of 24 is passing.  No calculator use is allowed.


1.  493 + 29 + 62 + 1074


2.  10000 – 679


3.  248 × 36


4.  Find a quotient and a remainder:  9872÷51


5.  4.72 + 0.009 + 701.6


6.  467.2 – 98.02


7.  .063 × .00021


8.  Round the answer to hundredths place: 0.1546 ÷ 0.031


9.  –8 −  (-7)


10.  21 – 32


11.  4 × –18


12.  –60 ÷ (–3)

13.   + 












19.  15% of 30 is ______


20.  8 is ____ % of 64


21.  Simplify: 


22.  Identify the place values below: 

(Be able to name all of these decimal places.)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 . 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


a.  The first 2 is in the ___________ place.


b.  The second six is in the ___________ place.


c.  The second 2 is in the _____________ place.