Summer 2020 - EDUC 411 D100

Investigations in Mathematics for Secondary Teachers (3)

Class Number: 1391

Delivery Method: Distance Education


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    One of MATH 152, 155 or 158. Corequisite: EDUC 415 or appropriate math background and permission of instructor.



Students examine secondary mathematics from an advanced standpoint, focusing on problem solving, investigating connections among various topics and representations, and situating secondary mathematics in a broader context, both mathematical and historical. Grading will be on a pass/withdrawal basis. Quantitative.


This course will be taught online due to the current regulations in place at SFU due to the CoVid virus pandemic. The class will still take place on Wednesdays from 230 to 530pm online. It is imperative that you are able to log in to Zoom for our sessions and reserve the full 3 hours. Participation during the scheduled time is mandatory for this course.

Mathematics (including school mathematics) originates in situations, not in theorems. I take this claim as the starting point for this course, where we shall be looking at a variety of situations (starting points, if you will) and exploring what happens when we mathematise them, often initially by means of a specific question of a certain sort, and then by thinking about the question and the situation in specific ways. The situations we will explore in this course come from mathematics itself, from its (varied) history, from textbooks, from newspapers, from the material world, from technology, from the human imagination, from our own curiosity and from wherever else such situations may arise.

For me, a mathematical task is a situation together with a mathematical question. And such tasks usually (but not always) lie in the realm of the teacher, who offers them to students. If students engage with such as task, they become active and their activity provides opportunities for the teacher to teach and the students to learn, to experience and to reflect on that experience. I believe the role of student inherently involves closing such activity down, by completing the task or otherwise getting rid of it (look it up on the internet?). The role of teacher involves keeping student activity going, in part as it provides the raw material for those ‘teachable moments’. This provides an interesting tension in the mathematics classroom.


Course-level educational goals will be determined once I have had the opportunity to meet you.


  • Grading will be on a pass/withdrawal basis.


To pass, a pass grade is required in all assignments. Resubmission of an unsatisfactory assignment will be considered. There is no final exam for this course. A more precise set of assignments will be provided at the second class, once I have had the opportunity to meet you.


The course is highly interactive (so online participation is crucial) and involves engaging with mathematical tasks, as well as discussion both about your work (mostly in varioussized groups on those tasks) and problem solving in school settings. Readings to be done between classes will be periodically assigned and presented by students and discussed in class.



There are no required texts. There is one text of general interest. I will refer to sections of this book throughout the course. There is an online version of it through SFU library.

The Art of Problem Posing by S. Brown and M. Walter.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.


Please note that all teaching at SFU in summer term 2020 will be conducted through remote methods. Enrollment in this course acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.