Mathematics

The Besant Hill School Mathematics Department offers a substantive sequence of college-preparatory courses for students with varied learning styles and academic interests.

Our goal is to prepare every student to reach his or her potential in a supportive, academically-focused environment. In every mathematics course, we want students to learn what it means to explore and discover mathematics. We want students to know what it means to collect data, observe patterns, make conjectures, and generalize these findings; what it means to produce a coherent logical argument-to think deductively; what it means to create a mathematical model; what it means to represent a solution analytically, geometrically, numerically and verbally; what it means to analyze a problem and persevere until it is solved; in essence, what it means to develop the habits of mind of a mathematician and to think critically. We believe all students can succeed and come to appreciate the power and beauty of mathematics.

Honors Algebra Class Quadratic Equation Song

The Mathematics Department offers several courses for a variety of instructional levels. At Besant Hill School, students are required to take at least three years of math. As such, beginning students will take either Algebra I, Geometry, or both classes depending on skill level. After completing these two courses, students are offered Algebra II, or Advanced Algebra, and then Pre-calculus. Students wishing to pursue a career in math or science or just looking for a challenge may take AP Calculus.

Our STEM Education initiative

It is the goal of the BHS Science and Mathematics Departments to ensure that every student engages in problem-based learning investigations through daily classroom STEM instruction. Through our STEM education initiative, students learn how to think with a critical mind and approach realistic problems with a foundation in scientific and mathematics literacy. We provide learning both inside and outside of the classroom using advanced computer programs and laboratory equipment which allows students to play a necessary and informed role in our modern technological society. Through our STEM initiative, it is our hope to enhance motivation, interest, and achievement among students. This not only motivates and aids our students in pursuing a STEM-related career field but also helps them make informed decisions for a better life.

Course Descriptions

Algebra I

Algebra I is a course that reviews and further develops the concepts learned in previous math courses.  In addition, students are introduced to new concepts that bridge from the concrete to the abstract. An emphasis is placed on problem solving and real world applications. Algebra is considered a foundation course for all subsequent higher-level high school and college math courses.  Knowledge and mastery of the course is assessed through homework, class activities, projects, quizzes, tests and a cumulative final assessment. As with all our Mathematics Classes, our STEM initiative is included in our daily language, literacy, content, and investigations.

Algebra II

Advanced Algebra builds on the foundations of basic algebra to solve increasingly complex problems. This first semester focuses on the nature of mathematical relations and functions. Advanced Algebra covers the following topics: functions and graphs, systems of linear equations, polynomials, quadratic equations, inequalities, exponents and radicals, rational expressions, and sequences and series. Students are expected to demonstrate the ability to use a graphing calculator and mathematical software. As with all our Mathematics Classes, our STEM initiative is included in our daily language, literacy, content, and investigations.

Geometry

Geometry is the study of two and three dimensional shapes and the components of these shapes: line, points, angles and space. In geometry we will use explorations and investigations to develop our reasoning skills and to study geometry and discover relationships among the different components of geometric figures. Our primary tools will be a pencil, compass, protractor, straight edge, and Geometer’s Sketchpad. We will learn to recognize geometric principles in nature, art, and architecture. As with all our Mathematics Classes, our STEM initiative is included in our daily language, literacy, content, and investigations.

Honors Algebra II

Honors Algebra II will prepare students for the study of precalculus. This class will move at a fast pace and cover numerous topics, including the use of a programmable graphing calculator, the analytic geometry of translations and scale changes; the fundamental mathematics of real numbers and functions; and a study of polynomial, rational, algebraic, exponential, and logarithmic functions. By completing this course, students will have developed a strong understanding of all major concepts in algebra, as well as have a basic introduction to precalculus. As with all our Mathematics Classes, our STEM initiative is included in our daily language, literacy, content, and investigations.

Precalculus

Precalculus at Besant Hill School integrates functions and trigonometry and applies the algebra and geometry that students have studied in the previous years. As the course progresses, we will more closely explore the tools used in further calculus classes. Students will use the mathematics they have learned to examine and discuss the theorems studied during the course. As with all our Mathematics Classes, our STEM initiative is included in our daily language, literacy, content, and investigations.

AP Calculus

Advanced Placement Calculus at Besant Hill School analyzes functions and their behavior and goes in-depth with trigonometric functions studied previously. As the course progresses, we will more closely explore the derivative of a function, and what it means in terms of rate of change and approximation. The relationship between the derivative and the integral will be probed, and an understanding of the reasonableness of solutions will be gained. Students completing AP Calculus will be able to use technology to help solve problems, experiment, interpret results and verify conclusions, and communicate mathematics both orally and in well-written sentences to explain solutions to problems. As with all our Mathematics Classes, our STEM initiative is included in our daily language, literacy, content, and investigations.

Advanced Math

This yearlong course is intended for students who have completed the usual study of quadratic, polynomial, and exponential functions.  The emphasis will be on using these functions to make mathematical models of real data.  The graphing calculator will be used extensively.  There will also be a focus on statistics, the scientific study of how to collect, analyze and draw conclusions from raw data and report the results obtained from these activities. Students will be given the opportunity to connect mathematics with other disciplines such as the natural and social sciences, government, and business by researching real world problems.  By completing the course, students will have developed a strong foundation in the art and science of making decisions with data. Students will be assessed primarily on written lab assignments explaining how their equations, graphical representations of data, and situations are connected. As with all our Mathematics Classes, our STEM initiative is included in our daily language, literacy, content, and investigations.