Course Syllabus for Senior Math

Teacher: Will Haase
Room #202
Teacher Contact Info:
Phone #: (619) 398-4900

Course Objectives:

There are five broad goals for senior math.  

1.)  First and foremost I want students to have a positive and empowering experience with math.  I want all students to feel that math class is a safe space to have fun and explore mathematical ideas and I hope that every student learns to enjoy themselves even when it feels challenging.  So our fist goal is to make sure everyone feel safe and respected and we can all trust each other.  Math is very difficult and can be very intimidating.  However by developing math skill students can gain a lot of confidence that they can take to college and beyond.  Also, I genuinely believe that math is a natural joy and I want every student to experience this math joy.  Human beings are naturally curious and my goal each year is to awaken that curiosity and joy of exploration within all of my students.

 *For more information about my feeling about how math should be taught and experienced I highly recommend this article:

2.)  My second goal is that students will develop deep thinking skills.  I want students to dive into the math at whatever level they are at and really try to understand the complexities.  I want them to hone their analytical thinking and also being to nurture their creative thinking in a rigorous way.  I want to student to show their creativity in finding multiple solutions and more elegant solutions to the problems we explore in class.  I want math class to feel like a mental gym where students are straining and growing their brains each and every day. 

3.)  The third goal for the class is the development of communication and collaboration skills.  Mathematics is very complex and trying to get others to understand you as well as trying to understand can be very challenging.  Math is a great place to grow ones ability to communicate and work with others.  We will often work in groups and I want students constantly trying to improve both themselves and the group as a whole.

4.)  My fourth goal is general study skills for college and life beyond.  I want students to use math as an opportunity to practice so healthy habits in preparation for college next year.  I encourage all my students to try new study techniques on a regular basis.  Students should try changing up length of study time, where they study, when they study, and with whom they study.  I also want students to explore all the wonderful resources that are now available to them on the internet so they know what works best for them by the end of the year.  College math classes are notoriously difficult and many students fail them because they do not know how to study adequately.  I want my students to see this year as an opportunity to practice.  Knowing how to study well both on your own and with others as well as knowing what resources work best for you will be a huge help in college.

*For a great website on college tips and tricks for studying please check out videos from:

5.)  Finally there is the actual math content I want students to know.  Math is the big gateway to college success and I want to make sure all my students can achieve their dreams.  So first and foremost want to make sure that every students can place into a college math class.  The research is very clear that having to take remedial math in college very negatively impacts students and jeopardizes their chances of getting a college degree.  A good measurement of college readiness is the ELM test given by CSU, State schools, and Community Colleges.  I would like to see all my student pass their ELM.  My second goal for my students is to gain some confidence with Calculus.  Calculus is necessary for any Science, Technology, Engineering, Computer science, Medicine, or math degree.  If you can't pass Calculus so many great classes and majors are simply out of reach.  Because of this I want all my students to experience calculus and realize that while it may be difficult it is not impossible.  I want all my student to go off to college knowing that if they had to pass Calculus they could

*For more information about the ELM you can go to:

Classroom Respect: This classroom needs to be a place where all students feel they can express their thoughts and ideas in a supportive and open-minded environment.  Please help to create a space where everyone is respected and supported.  The class is very diverse and there are students at all ability levels.  Math is difficult and can be very intimidating and frustrating.  Please work hard to improve your own ability and help others improve by celebrating their successes, offering help when you can, and encouraging them when they are struggling.  We are all at our own level but as a class we are in this together.  The more functional the classroom environment is the more successful each individual will be.  Have fun with the math and try to help your classmates have a good experience too.

Homework: Homework assignments will be given at the beginning of the week and will be due on the first day of the next week. I give students a lot of freedom as to what mathematics they can do and how they can show they are studying math.  I expect 300 points of homework which is around 5 hours of work.  I ask for this to get student in good study habits for college where they may have to spend 15 or more hours per week on single class.  I also really want students to practice math.  Math is just a language and with regular practice anyone can learn it,  But if you don't practice you will not grow strong in math.  I hope that eventually practicing math will not feel like a chore but will be something students look forward to, especially if they learn how to create good study groups with others.  Also, there will regularly be time in class to work and students who use their class time well can expect much less time spent working on homework at home.  I never want homework to be rushed through and feel like a chore.  I want it to be meaningful practice time where you feel your are learning and growing and getting better at math so you can pursue your dreams in college.  If you are are feeling overwhelmed or that the homework structure is not working for you, please talk to me.  I just want you to learn math and and enjoy math and get ready for the challenges in your future.

Extra Credit:  Students are always welcome to do more than the required amount of homework for extra credit.  However all credit over 100% will be halved to encourage regular work habits and not doing everything in one go.

Late Work: As seniors in high school on the brink of college, late work will only be accepted if advanced notice is given.  If you tell me before the deadline it's an explanation, if you tell me after the deadline it's an excuse.  Having said that I know that life happens and I am more than happy to work with every student.  So please just talk to me.  And also just hand in whatever work you have and you can always do extra credit next week to make up anything that you missed.

Make-up tests/quizzes: In general I give two mid-terms and one final in order to mimick the most common testing system used in college.  If a student does poorly on a test or misses a test there will be regular retakes.  I do NOT want students to fear exams.  I want students to see them as opportunities to show off what they have learned and I want all students to achieve whatever level of mastery serves their life goals.  After each big exam there will be regular retake opportunities either on fridays or after school if needed.  Please work hard to be ready for the tests but do not freak out.  I want you to succeed and will work with you until you do.  If you want an A in the class and are willing to work hard you will get and A.

Preparation and Supplies: Please be prepared for class both mentally and physically.  The Senior Math curriculum is very challenging and students need to be well rested and ready to focus as well as bringing the necessary class materials to school.   Please get to bed on time,get regular exercise, and eat well.  Students will also need pencils, a notebook, and some sort of 3 ring binder for handouts.  Seniors taking the SAT and ACT would be wise to invest in some sort of calculator even though this will not be required for the class.  

* If students are unable to get any materials for class, please come speak to me and those supplies will be provided.

Note taking: Students are expected to take neat and detailed notes during class so that they can use these to study from for tests and quizzes. *This is an essential aspect of the college preparation and students should spend the year developing a method that works for them.  Students will often be allowed to create cheat sheets for tests and this will be very helpful in creating those.  Also you can check out the College Info Geek video on note taking for guidance

Tardiness: Please try to arrive to class on time if you are first period math.  We have so much work to cover and it's very disruptive when students come late.  As an incentive to arriving on time students are given credit for showing up to class on time, prepared, and in dress code each day.  However, if students are late it will affect their grade.  Along with this try to go to the bathroom before class so you can stay the whole 55 minutes.  Obviously if you need to go to the bathroom please do, but recognize that our class is very short and missing even a few minutes is significant.

Eating: Students are allowed to have food and drink in class, I just ask that you be careful and respectful. Please avoid foods that are sticky, smelly, or crumbly food in the class as the classroom becomes unclean and we have had problems in the past with ants and other pests.  Also do not let the food or drink be a disruption.  I want this to help you stay focused not distract you and your classmates.

Cell Phones and I pods:  Cell phones and i-pods will be allowed during some work time at the discretion of the teacher if students can show they can be used responsibly.  We will explore the effects of having phones on and off during class and see how it helps or hinders our progress.  In general try to be respectful of our limited time and the difficulty of our work and not be on your phone.  When you are on your phone you not only distract yourself and miss out on the learning but you inevitably distract those around you.  Please help us all stay focused so everyone can be ready for college next year.

Weekly Integrity Test:  If students come to class each day on time, in dress code, with all materials, and engage fully in class without using I Pod's or Cell phones they will receive 10 points each day.  These points will help students significantly since my tests are very rigorous and difficult.

Working in the commons

Students can earn the privileged of working in the senior commons at times if they have permission, have no missed homework assignments, and are wanting a quite space to work.  Please be respectful when working outside in the commons as other classes can hear you.

Brain Research and Learning:

During the year I will look for opportunities to educated students about modern Brain research regarding memory, learning, and motivation.  Current research on neuroplasticity is very exciting for education as it really supports the understanding that intelligence is more more of a skill that can be learned and much less something your are born with our without.  If you are interested here are some books that you mind enjoy:

         The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor·        

         Mindset by Carol Dweck

·        The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle

·        Intelligence and How to get it by Richard E. Nisbett

·        Why students don’t like school by Daniel Willingham

·        Teach like a Champion by Doug Lemov

·        Switch by Dan and Chip Heath

         Why we do what we do by Richard Deci

·        Drive by Daniel Pink

·        The Now Habit by Neil Fiore

·        How we Decide by Johan Lehrer

·        Nudge by Richard Thaler

·        Enriching the Brain by Eric Jensen

Student Support: 

Students are encouraged to come at lunch or after school for help.  There is student tutoring most everyday after school. Students are encouraged to be proactive and seek help at the first signs of difficulty.  Also, I highly encourage students to become familiar with the Khan Academy as it is a tremendously helpful free resource.  If you are having troubles please come talk to me and we'll find a way to make things work.

Grading System
Students will earn points in several categories described below:

Tests and Quizzes - 50%  (which can be retaken)

Homework and class participation– 50%

Letter grades will be earned on the following scale: 
A=90-100%, B=80-89%, C=70-79%, D=60-69%, F=below 60%.At HTHI, a D or an F is not considered passing.

Honors Option

For students wanting a greater challenge, STEM preparation, and/or honors credit for this course they may opt to take the class for honors credit by signing up with the teacher within the first three weeks of school.  Students taking the honors option will be required to complete at least one challenge problems each week, are encouraged to do some tutoring each week, and will be held to a more rigorous standard on the tests.  

First semester Honor's students will focus on the SAT II subject test material including topics like: Trigonometry, Series, Conic Sections, Logarithms, probability, and other advanced algebra concepts.

Second Semester Honor's students will explore advanced Integral and differential Calculus.

*Once students commit to Honors they may NOT drop out.

**Students may do Honors math one semester yet not the other semester.


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Overview of course calendar week by week - Flow of math content - (subject to change)

**I have listed some Khan Academy videos but feel free to search the site on your own as there are many more.  Just go to and search for the topic on his site.


1.)  Goal Setting for the Year

Group Norms



2.)  Algebra and Word Problems

Simple Equations

Equations 2

Equations 3

Algebra: Linear Equations 1

Algebra: Linear Equations 2

Algebra: Linear Equations 3

Algebra: Linear Equations 4

Algebra: Solving Inequalities

3.)  Systems of Equations and Fractions

systems of equations

Solving Systems of Equations by Elimination

Solving Systems of Equations by Multiplication

Lots of fraction videos at various levels

4.)  Factors and Quadratics

Solving a quadratic by factoring

Introduction to the quadratic equation

Quadratic Equation part 2

Completing the square

Quadratic Formula (proof)

Factoring Quadratic Expressions

Solving Quadratic Equations by Square Roots

Solving Quadratic Equations by Completing the Square

Using the Quadratic Formula

5 + 6.) Rates, Ratios, Decimals, Percents

Simplifying Rates and Ratios

Finding Unit Rates

Two Passing Bicycles Word Problem

Passing Trains

Overtaking Word Problem

Introduction to Ratios (new HD version)

Ratio problem with basic algebra (new HD)

More advanced ratio problem--with Algebra (HD version)

Alternate Solution to Ratio Problem (HD Version)

Advanced ratio problems

Ratio and Proportion

Solving Percent Problems

Solving Percent Problems 2

Solving Percent Problems 3

Taking percentages

Another Percent Word Problem

More percent problems

Percent Problems

Percent and decimals

7.) Review for Mid Term Exam #1 - SAT Saturday Oct. 3rd

Review for Mid-Term

8.) Functions, Exponents and Logarithms

*Tons of videos - search exponents on the Khan Academy search.

9.) Triangles and Angles

Introduction to the Pythagorean Theorem

Pythagorean Theorem II

Intro to 30-60-90 Triangles

30-60-90 Triangles II

45-45-90 Triangles

Similar triangles

Similar triangles (part 2)

10.)  Coordinate geometry and circles

Circles: Radius, Diameter and Circumference

Area of a circle

 11.)  Polygons and Solids and  for Mid-Term # 2 - SAT Saturday Nov. 7th           

12.)   Intro to calculus +Limits

Introduction to Limits

Limit Examples (part 1)

Limit Examples (part 2)

Limit Examples (part3)

Calculus: Derivatives 1 (new HD version)

Calculus: Derivatives 2

13.)   Power rule and chain rule

Proof - Proof: d/dx(x^n)

Calculus: Derivatives 3

Chain Rule Examples

Even More Chain Rule

Thanksgiving Break

14.)     Product + Quotient Rule

Product Rule

Quotient Rule

Derivatives (part 9)

Extreme Derivative Word Problem (advanced)

15.)     Implicit differentiation + Related Rates

Implicit Differentiation

Implicit Differentiation (part 2)

More implicit differentiation

More chain rule and implicit differentiation intuition

Trig Implicit Differentiation Example

Introduction to rate-of-change problems

Rates-of-change (part 2)

Ladder rate-of-change problem

16.)         Review and Practice for Final Exam

Christmas Break

Second Semester

1.)                   *Review Differential calculus, Graphing with derivatives

2.)                  Optimization

3.)                   Beginning Integration idea.  Area under the curve proof.  Basic Integration

4.)                     Integration with substitution + Advanced Substitution

5.)                     Logarithmic Integration and  Partial Fraction Decomposition

6.)                     Integration by Parts

7.)                      Trigonometric Substitution

8.)                     Review and Mid-Term



Spring Break






15.)                     Review of Related Rates

16.)                     Review of Optimization

17.)                     Reviw of differentials

18.)                     Review for Final Exam + Final Exam

 *Honors Calculus videos:

Partial Derivatives

Basic Differential equations

Diff EQ's - Separations of variables

Diff EQ's - Integrating Factors


 problems.  I want math class

is to engage students in rich mathematical dialogue, thinking, and p