Summer 2023 - EDUC 411 D100

Investigations in Mathematics for Secondary Teachers (3)

Class Number: 4409

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 8 – Aug 4, 2023: Thu, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • 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.


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.


At the end of the course, students will be able to enrich their mathematics teaching with relevant problems that connect to various topics and representations in the curriculum.



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.


The course is highly interactive (so both attendance and participation is crucial) and involves engaging with mathematical tasks, as well as discussion both about your work (mostly in various-sized 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 are three texts of general interest. I will bring copies of these in class.

Thinking Mathematically by J. Mason, L. Burton, K. Stacey

Adapting and Extending Secondary Mathematics Activities: New Tasks for Old by S. Prestage and P. Perks

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


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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.


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.