The Mathematics Department offers a comprehensive college preparatory curriculum that incorporates a variety of teaching methods and the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning.
The objectives of the mathematics curriculum for students are as follows:
- to achieve proficiency in the content areas studied
- to develop an independent, creative and analytical approach to problem solving
- to develop a sense of exploration and to enjoy the process of discovery
The Mathematics Department offers 14 mathematics courses including three advanced placement courses and a post-AP calculus course. The courses include: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Algebra II with Trigonometry, Trigonometry/Statistics, Pre-calculus, Introduction to Calculus/Statistics, Advanced Placement Calculus AB/BC, AP Statistics/Advanced Topics, and Advanced Topics in Mathematics/Multivariable Calculus. An honors option is available in Geometry, Algebra II/Trigonometry and Pre-Calculus. To see the flow of the courses, view image below.
The appropriate placement of students is important to their success. Each incoming 9th grader’s mathematics background is assessed with the help of 8th grade teacher recommendations, a standardized test score, and, if necessary, a placement exam taken at RZJHS. Students are then placed into a regular or honors course in the proper position in the sequence. Student placement is reassessed on an annual basis by their teacher, and movement between the honors and college preparatory tracks is allowed depending on the changing needs of the student.
The approach to teaching employed by RZJHS mathematics teachers is guided, in part, by the principles set forth by the College Board and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
Students are exposed to concepts in a number of ways:
- Graphically/visually: students work with a graph or a diagram to relate visually to the concepts being studied.
- Numerically: students recognize the patterns within data collected from real world phenomena.
- Analytically: students manipulate the symbolic structure of mathematics efficiently and correctly.
- Verbally: students express their understanding of problems and concepts well in both spoken and written language.
The effectiveness of the RZJHS mathematics curriculum is evident in the levels of student achievement. Students consistently score well on standardized tests such as the SAT, the ACT and AP Calculus and AP Statistics exams. Students also earn competitive marks in the international American Mathematics Competition. In addition to helping students earn high scores on standardized tests, the RZJHS’ math curriculum aims to stimulate student interest in mathematics at all levels. In classroom discussions, students display high levels of curiosity and a “can-do” attitude. Nearly all RZJHS students take four years of mathematics rather than the required three. Both student and parent evaluations reveal enthusiasm for mathematics at RZJHS.
Do You Know?
RZJHS has an active mathematics team that participates in a variety of contests and organizes school-wide events including PI and e days. The contests include: North Suburban Math League meets, Annual ICTM Team Scramble vs. Ida Crown, American Mathematics Competition and if students qualify, the American Invitation Mathematics Examination (AIME).
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