Today’s student will spend her adult life in a world influenced by technology and quantitative methods. For this reason, every Emma Willard student is asked to focus on mathematics as a tool for problem-solving.
To prepare our students for mathematics at any college or university, we teach with a variety of pedagogical methods. In her mathematics career at Emma, a student is exposed to traditional algebraic methods, problem-solving methods, and methods that take advantage of current technologies, such as the graphing calculator, the computer program GeoGebra® and, at some of the higher levels, the computer program Maple®. As the Emma Willard student progresses through the mathematics curriculum, she learns to do more sophisticated work with technology. However, while technology is used extensively, the mathematics department also aims to develop students’ independent problem-solving skills and number sense. Teachers frequently make connections between mathematics and its applications in other areas. It is a goal of the mathematics department to increase students' proficiency and confidence in all areas of mathematics.
It is increasingly important to prepare students for the study of both calculus and statistics, as many students need both for studies at the college level. For this reason, Mathematical Methods (M-410), Precalculus (M-450), and Precalculus with Non-routine Problems (M-460) are offered as some of the fourth-year electives. Precalculus covers topics in both pre-calculus and pre-statistics mathematics and serves as the prerequisite for all fifth-level courses. After completion of Precalculus, students may be recommended by the department for some of the fifth-level courses, including Calculus (M-500), AP Statistics (M-540), and AP Calculus AB (M-550). Successful completion of AP Calculus AB qualifies students to take AP Calculus BC and beyond that, Multivariable Calculus (M-570). Advanced students also have the opportunity to pursue independent work through a practicum. In addition, students have the opportunity to participate in such competitions as the New York Mathematics League and the American Mathematics Competition.
Independent Problem-Solving Skills at the Fifth-year Level
By the time a student studies at the fifth-year level in mathematics, she should be an independent, self-sufficient learner. She needs to be able to employ many abstract theoretical concepts for success in these courses. A capacity for individual work and a high level of self motivation are expected in and out of the classroom.
Upon enrollment, new students complete a mathematics test to help determine placement.