UCLA Mathnet Login

Math 72SL: General Course Outline

Catalog Description

Math 72SL: Classroom Practices in Middle School Math

Math 72SL Instructor:        

Mark Goldstein: markgucla@msn.com       

Office Hours: by appointment     

Phone: (310) 293-9672

Meeting Day: Wednesday         

Meeting Time: 4:00-5:30

Meeting Place: MS 6201             

(Instructor of Record: Bruce Rothschild: blr@math.ucla.edu)

Course Description and Objectives: This course is designed to introduce prospective mathematics teachers to the field of secondary education and the teaching and learning of mathematics in middle school classrooms.  Pairs of students are placed in local middle school classrooms to observe, participate, and assist a Mentor Teacher in instruction.  In concert with this field experience, students participate in the weekly seminar and discuss learning in a middle school culture, cognitive development of students at this level, and the best means to teach appropriate mathematics concepts at this level.  Students are expected to work a minimum of 30 hours (3hrs/week) in the middle school classroom during the quarter. 

Prerequisite: Courses 31A and 31B with grades of C- or better.

Course Requirements:

  • Fieldwork and Reflections: Students will work in a middle school classroom a minimum of 30 hours during the quarter.  For every field visit, students will log their hours and reflections on the California Teach Online Information System portal.
  • Weekly Assignments: Assignments will be given on a weekly basis and include readings, math problems, and topics for discussion with Mentor Teachers.  Students are expected to complete all assignments prior to the next meeting. Most readings are from: California State Department of Education (2000), Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools  (http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/ma/cf/)
  • Attendance and Participation: Students are expected to attend all scheduled classes and participate in discussions pertinent to their classroom experiences, assignments, and other education issues.
  • Inquiry-based Lesson Projects: Working in pairs, students will develop one inquiry-based lesson plan to be critiqued by their instructors and mentor teacher and presented to their peers.  At the discretion of the Mentor Teacher, students will present one of these lessons to a middle school class and assess the effectiveness by measuring student learning.

Grading: This is a Pass/No Pass course. Assignments will only be counted when turned in during class (or online before class).


  • -

Unacceptable; needs revision


Acceptable; meets requirement

  • +

Excellent; exceeds requirement

Placements:  The Academic Coordinator will handle all scheduling and placements.  Local middle schools with excellent Mentor Teachers have been selected for your placements.  All schools are within walking distance or one short bus ride from UCLA.  Once you have been paired with another student and placed with a Mentor Teacher, you will be provided with the location information.  Contact information for your Mentor Teacher, the middle school principal, and other students working at your school will also be provided.

Academic Coordinator        California Teach Resource Center

Matt Fox            Office Hours: Daily 1-3pm; 1039 Young Hall

UCLA California Teach



Preparation:  This course builds on your experience in Math 71SL (or equivalent).  Before you engage in your work at the middle school, we will discuss in detail and provide documentation of the roles, responsibilities, and expectations of everyone involved in this partnership between UCLA and the middle schools.  Principles of good campus-community partnerships include: agreed upon missions, values, and goals; a relationship characterized by mutual trust, respect, genuineness, and commitment; clear, open, and accessible communication between partners; and feedback to, among, and from all stakeholders in the partnership with the goal of continuously improving the partnership and its outcomes.


Meaningful Work:  While the type of work you engage in at the middle school will vary, you are expected to observe and assist your Mentor Teacher in mathematics.  Possible activities include helping your Mentor Teacher prepare for instruction or class activities, observing, assisting individual students or small groups, and teaching individuals, small groups, or the whole class.  Students are guests in their assigned schools and as guests, agree to support school policies and personnel, follow all rules and regulations, and conduct themselves as professional educators in their manner, dress and communication.  Students should follow the “Classroom Assistant Guidelines” (provided) at all times. 

Suggestion:  You should keep a journal for observations/reflections/teaching tips.  You may use this notebook to make your entries in the California Teach online information system (OIS), and/or as a source for discussion in class.

This is a “Service Learning” course and as such, requires that you have a working knowledge of service learning.  Service Learning:

  • Is a method whereby students learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service that is conducted in and meets the needs of communities;
  • Is coordinated with an elementary school, secondary school, or community-based organization;
  • Helps foster civic responsibility;
  • Is integrated into and enhances the academic curriculum of the students, or the education components of the community service program in which the participants are enrolled;
  • Provides structured time for students or participants to reflect on the service experience

Course Schedule

(Instructor reserves the right to make changes at any time)





Math Activity


due next week

Reading due next week







Integer Operations


Framework ch1; EDThoughts







Integer Operations (cont.)

Integer Operations Using a Model


Framework ch2 - MS standards only;









A Fraction Multiplication Lesson


Framework ch4A;



Start lesson planning





Fraction Division

Division: Word Problem and Picture 


Framework ch4B; EDThoughts


Work on Lesson



Observations Reading


Lesson Planning

Fraction Division


Proving an Algorithm (#3)

Framework ch5; EDThoughts


Work on Lesson






Lesson Planning

Pattern and Function

(geometric context)

A Pool Problem


Framework ch6; EDThoughts

#6(Math For All)

Work on Lesson






Lesson Planning

Pattern and Function (story context)

Crossing the Bridge



Lessons Due





Pattern and Function (staircase problem?)

The Crosstower Problem






Observations POW

Share Lessons

Variable (?)




No class Wednesday, 11/21 (week of Thanksgiving)

*Class starts 3:45 sharp


must be typewritten (handwritten accepted if done extremely neatly) and must contain the following:

  • Start with the purpose of the problem restated briefly in your own words.
  • End with a brief two-paragraph reflection:
  • Paragraph 1 contains your thoughts about the problem as a problem-solver. Discuss what you learned, difficulties you may have had, etc.
  • Paragraph 2 contains your thoughts about how this problem applies to a classroom situation (think as a teacher). Discuss if this problem is appropriate for a grade level you may want to teach, or how it might be modified as such.
The main body contains the process and solution:
  • Clearly identify strategies and approaches, with explanations and annotations so that your thinking is understandable.
  • Use the fourfold way whenever possible (multiple representations that contain pictures, numbers, symbols, and words whenever appropriate)
  • Be sure that your solution(s) are evident.

Reading write-ups

must be typewritten, 12-point, single spaced (paragraphs or bullet points ok), one page or less

  • Do not summarize the paper.
  • Write 4 or 5 briefs or bullets on:
  • things that you learned or were reminded of and/or
  • things you have questions about that would be appropriate for the instructor, the class, and/or for yourself to promote more thought about what you read.

Lesson Planning

Students in 72 SL write a math lesson to turn in. It will be taught in a classroom in which you are observing/assisting (with teacher approval). Please discuss this with the teacher ASAP to determine a date and potential lesson to teach. We will discuss lesson planning in class, but you may make an appointment with me to discuss your lesson in more depth. The lesson must contain at least the following:

  • Topic
  • Goal(s)
  • Standard(s) addressed
  • Launch or warmup activity - include question(s), problem(s), exercise(s)
  • Introduction to main part of lesson - include question(s), problem(s), exercise(s)
  • Student exploration - include problem(s), exercise(s)
  • Summarization and closure (with students) - include question(s)
  • Practice - include question(s), problem(s), exercise(s)
  • Ideas for addressing students with a variety of needs (“special needs”, English learners, gifted)

Some other things to think about when planning and teaching your lesson:

  • Is it engaging?
  • Is it student-centered?
  • Are there materials needed other than standard paper and pencil?
  • Does it address concept development and/or skills practice?
  • Can your objectives be realistically accomplished in a single period?
  • Is it appropriate for the students in the class?
  • Is it within the boundaries of what the mentor teacher requested?
  • How will you assess student learning (questions, written work, etc)?
  • Will you collect any student work?