Instructor: Sergei Abramovich; Office: Satterlee 210; Phone: (315) 267-2541 (office);


Office Hours: MWF 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. and by appointment



Secondary School Mathematics Instruction - SECD 450


The course Secondary School Mathematics Instruction is designed to prepare students to teach mathematics at the secondary school level. Topics include curricular models, planning for instruction, motivational techniques, assessment, and use of technology. Students will discuss the NCTM Standards, New York State Learning Standards for Mathematics, Science, and Technology, and will have the opportunity to gain field experience in local high schools. SECD 350 is a prerequisite for SECD 450.



The students will


Texts and web-based materials



The use of technology

The preparation of secondary mathematics teachers at SUNY Potsdam includes educational opportunities of using the Internet and local network. To this end, an e-mail communication between the instructor and students will be used on a regular basis. Students will be expected to check their e-mail at least once a week as homework assignments may be given via e-mail. Please be advised that you can check your campus e-mail through the Internet by opening the following location in the Navigator: There exists a web site for the course (which is currently under construction). To access the course web site on the Internet, open the following location in the Navigator (any computer that has the Internet connection will be OK). This would give access to an electronic version of the course syllabus and other relevant materials. In order to access a password-required domain of the course web site (when needed), click at the hyperlink SECD 450 at the top of the page. Upon clicking, a computer would require entering User Name and Password. Please be advised that the User Name is secd350 (yes, 350, this is not a misprint) and the Password is maple. This will make some course materials available to the SECD 450 students only. Finally, in order to access course materials put on the ClassFiles volume (of the Zeus Server) one should go to Class Files server, and find the folder SECD 450 within the folder abramovs.

Note that everything placed in the ClassFiles is automatically "published" on the Web at This option is convenient for those students who will be using non-campus (e.g., home) computers. To access ClassFiles on the Internet, make your way, via your browser, to the folder SECD 450 and see a list of files; holding down the OPTION (Mac) or SHIFT (Windows) key while clicking on the document will cause the document to be downloaded to your computer. You can then double-click on the document and open it on your computer assuming that you have the same program that was used to create it.


Unit Plans

Each student (working in a two-student team) will develop a mathematics unit plan. An overview of steps to developing the unit will be given in a separate document.



Each student will observe and work with students in the secondary schools. Students will spend at least 20 hours in the secondary schools. Practicum journals are due November 20, 2001. Students must successfully complete the practicum experience to receive a 2.0 in the course.

Practicum/observations journals guidelines will be given in a separate document.



Education in the United States is in a state of continual reform. For teachers to stay current they must plan time in their very busy schedules for professional development. This can be accomplished by taking part in workshops, joining professional organizations, and reading and reflecting on professional materials. To help you develop these habits you will read, present to the class, and write a summary/critique of an article that recommended by the instructor. Your presentation-summary-critique must meet the following guidelines:


Evaluation Criteria

Observations Journal 20%

Unit Plan 25%

Presentation of an Article 20%

Cumulative Portfolio (including textbook assignments) 25%

Use of Technology (Internet, local server, MS Word, etc.) 10%



Overall grade: range 100%-90% - 4.0; range 80%-89% - 3.5; range 75%-79% - 3.0; range 65%-74% - 2.5; range 55%-64% -2.0; range 45%-54% - 1.5; range 40%-44% - 1.0; below 40% - 0.0.


It is expected that all work will be the students own otherwise documented. Failure to credit others for direct quotations and ideas will be considered plagiarism and will result in the student receiving a grade of 0.0 for that assignment.


Readings for SECD 450/GRED 570


Available at Crumb library reserve desk



1. Wu, H. (1999). Professional Development of Mathematics Teachers. Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 46 (5), pp. 535-542. (presentation: 9/11/01) by Jackson and Yong

2. Wu, H. (2001). How to prepare students for algebra. American Educator, 25(2), pp. 10-17. (presentation: 9/18/01) by LaFrance, Wagsraff, and Rosset

3. Cuoco, Al. (2001). Mathematics for Teaching. Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 2001, 48 (2), pp. 168-174. (presentation: 9/25/01) by Peck and Siegler

4. Hershkowitz, R., Arcavi. A., and Bruckheimer, M. (2001). Reflections on the status and nature of visual reasoning - the case of the matches. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 32 (2), pp. 255&emdash;265. (presentation: 10/2/01) by Crandall, Hardin and Lesniak.

5. Abramovich, S., and Nabors, W. (1998). Enactive approach to word problems in a computer environment enhances mathematical learning for teachers. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 17 (2/3), pp. 161-180. (presentation: 10/16/01) by Jacobs and Krug

6. Zaslavsky, O. (1995). Open&endash;ended tasks as a trigger for mathematics teachers' professional development. For the Learning of Mathematics, 15(3), pp. 15-20. (presentation: 10/23/01) by Lesperance and Page

7. Glidden, P.L. (2001). Beyond the Golden Ratio: A calculator-based investigation. Mathematics Teacher, 94 (2), pp. 138-144. (presentation: 10/30/01) by Dabiew and Dorr

8. Leikin, R.; Berman, A., and Zaslavsky, O. (2000). Applications of symmetry to problem solving. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 31 (6), pp. 799 &endash; 809. (presentation: 11/6/01) by Monroe and Moore

9. Holton, D., et al. (2001). On the importance of mathematical play. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 32 (3), pp. 401 &endash; 415. (presentation: 11/13/01) by Randall and Rogers

Ruthven, K. (2001). Issues of cultural diversity in school mathematics. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 32 (3), pp. 355 &endash; 364. (presentation: 11/20/01) by Hutton and MacDuffie


Websites related to graphing calculators:

Tutorials for using nine different calculators


Lesson Plan for using graphing calculators