The mathematics program at Oak Grove School is a four-year, college-preparatory curriculum that prepares students for further studies in college in mathematics, engineering, physics, computer science, and other similar courses of study. At the same time, it honors a variety of interests, abilities, and learning styles and strives to bring out the mathematical talents of all students. The program aims to build a deep understanding of concepts rather than focusing on memorizing formulas and algorithms. Students work with both inductive and deductive reasoning approaches to make sense of what they are learning and develop their understanding. Ultimately, we want all students to see themselves as mathematically capable at any level, no matter what their futures hold. Classes are presented in ways that blend the inquiry-based approaches of Oak Grove School with the occasional lecture-based format of more traditional math courses, preparing students for future math and science courses in both high school and college. Students will learn to take on responsibility for their own learning, both in and out of class, making sense of complex ideas. The instructor’s role in this is to guide the students, helping them clarify difficult concepts and giving them examples of how a mathematician might approach problems as they encounter challenging problems together. There is no way for a teacher to put the knowledge into them, nor should that ever be a teacher’s goal. Rather, the teacher’s job is to create opportunities for learning and to ask the right questions at the right time to help the students create and construct their own learning. While not all students will pursue a major in mathematics in college, the skills that they learn in their math classes at Oak Grove will serve them well in any area of study that requires them to be able to take in new information, classify it, process it, analyze it, and apply it.
Geometry is the first math course in the high school program and covers topics in both plane and solid Geometry. Prerequisite is successful completion of Algebra 1. Geometry at Oak Grove School combines an inductive approach (making observations, drawing conclusions, creating conjectures) with a more traditional deductive approach (writing proofs in two-column, paragraph, and flowchart forms).
Algebra 2 is the second math course in the high school program. It covers topics such as linear and quadratic functions, matrices, exponents and logarithms, conic sections, series, and sequences. Prerequisite is successful completion of Algebra 1. Algebra 2 at Oak Grove School uses both lectures and investigations to help students explore questions, make observations and draw conclusions. The goal is to prepare students to enter the upper division math courses with their “toolkits” sufficiently full, giving students the skill set and confidence needed to tackle higher-level mathematics.
Pre-Calculus is the third math course in the high school program. The course covers a variety of functions and graphs (linear, quadratic, polynomial, rational and exponential), logarithms, e, trigonometry, polar coordinates, complex numbers, sequences and series, matrices and an introduction to limits. Prerequisite is successful completion of Algebra 2 and Geometry. The course is divided between a study of trigonometry, using both unit circles and a right triangle approach, and various topics designed to prepare students for Calculus the following year.
Calculus at Oak Grove School introduces students to the main topics of calculus and gives them a strong foundation for their college math experiences. Topics covered include limits and continuity, the derivative, integration, the indefinite and definite integral, and applications of differentiation and integration. Given this is a senior course it will be presented in ways that blend the inquiry-based approaches of Oak Grove School with the lecture-based format of most college math courses. The goal is to help prepare students for college-level math and science courses while in the safe setting of Oak Grove. Students will take on a tremendous amount of responsibility for their own learning, and it is expected that they will spend a fair amount of time outside of class making sense of complex ideas. They will learn to read a math text written at a college level and develop the self-sufficiency to master new concepts primarily on their own.
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