Algebra 1

with Ms. Grace Prensner

Term: Yearlong 2017–18, September 5–May 18
Instructor: Grace Prensner
Grade Level: 9th grade or above / advanced 8th graders
Schedule: Mondays & Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. (ET), 60–75 min.
Price: $595.00

Please note: Registration for this course is closed. Check back in February 2018 for our 2018-19 academic year course offerings!

This Algebra 1 course is the foundation for high school mathematics study—though there is nothing sterile and artificial about this class! The course covers algebraic expressions such as polynomials and rational expressions, and trains students to solve linear and quadratic equations. Students also study the use of integers; rational numbers; graphing and solving equivalent equations, including problems of length and area; and distance, rate, and time. Using the renowned textbook Elementary Algebra by Henry Jacobs as a guide, students will be intrigued and engaged with the interesting stories (and even poetry) that introduce these math concepts!

Prerequisites: This course is designed for students who have completed a course in Pre-Algebra.

Q: What does it mean to approach math classically?

A: Like all classical subjects, mathematics should be taught with the aim of fostering students’ humanity. This means that the goal of a math class is not to train students to be really fast formula-memorizing number-crunchers so much as it is to nurture advanced dialectical reasoning.

Mathematics should be taught out of a love of wisdom and out of a love of the good, the true, and the beautiful. Mathematics isn’t just a tiresome hoop to jump through to become engineers or doctors or make lots of money. It is one of the many ways to wonder actively.

With this in mind, mathematics should be taught holistically, as part of the larger narrative of the great ideas. Ideally, a classical mathematics course would include historical context, and time to think philosophically about the presuppositions at play in whatever mathematical framework is being studied. At Scholé Academy, we make every effort to help students understand the ideas behind mathematics, and not just learn how to solve isolated problems. We want students to catch a glimpse of what motivates mathematicians to inquire the way they do and to develop the math that we are studying. This way mathematics doesn’t seem so inhumanely abstract, so arbitrary, so at odds with curiosity and joy.

—by Grace Prensner, upper-school mathematics instructor


Elementary Algebra by Harold R. Jacobs

Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with processor with a speed of 1 Ghz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with MacOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do NOT recommending using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with an download/upload speed of 5/1Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkWebCam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer.
WebCam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class.
Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use.
To download Zoom:

  1. Visit zoom.us/download.
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.

Studying mathematics is useful and necessary, but Ms. Prensner does it for joy. After being classically educated at Covenant Christian Academy, Grace studied mathematics, philosophy, and music at Grove City College, where she also served as a tutor and teaching assistant for math, logic, and physics courses. Grace enjoys sharing her joy for mathematics by teaching math in a way that exercises creativity and satisfies curiosity.



from Classical Academic Press