Pre-Algebra: From Kid’s Stuff to the Good Stuff!

DESCRIPTION: A 2-semester course for middle-schoolers who have a good grasp on Arithmetic, and are preparing to move into Algebra.

Imagine a math class, taught by a young teacher who loves math, has a sense of humor, and who knows that the best answer to the question, “Why do we have to take Algebra I?” is not “So that you’ll be ready for Algebra II.” That’s what you’ll get in our new class, taught by James Pelham, 18 (assisted by Kay Pelham).

Not every society is great at everything, and the sad fact is that in our society, math is often taught by people who assume that kids will hate math, so they don’t try to present it as anything other than a drudgery that must simply be endured. But as it turns out, some grasp of math is not only necessary for math students in school, but for adults functioning in the real world. And most teachers understand that, of course–which is why math is a required subject.

What too few ever discover, however, is that math is a skill set and “mindware” that can help us to work some fascinating puzzles in this world, as well as to better understand how the world works in various ways. A good math education helps train the mind’s powers of analysis and problem-solving. When it’s taught well, math can be fun, fascinating, rewarding, and engaging—and it gives the well-rounded person an additional and useful perspective from which to better understand the world.

In Arithmetic, one learns how to count, add, subtract, multiply and divide. And in Algebra, one learns how to think about numbers and their uses in new ways. It’s not nearly as much about rote memorization as it is about understanding what all can be mathematically figured out based on the information we already have. In this course, James helps students to understand the basic strategies they will further develop in Algebra. So, we first make sure you have “the kid’s stuff” down, and we then help you start your journey into “the good stuff”!

Other Information

A Code of Conduct agreement is required for this course. This helps to ensure the positive environment in each class. This document is being updated and will be published this summer.

Tuesdays, 12:40 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The semester runs September 13, 2021 through December 6. (13 weeks)

The textbook for this course will be announced by August 1. We are weighing various options, and would love to hear if our enrollees have any preferences. Please contact us here to let us know.

You’ll need the following:

  • notebook with paper
  • pencils
  • 1/4″ grid graph paper (one pack)
  • 12″ ruler
  • calculator with exponents and root functions (Phone apps are fine.)

12 Maximum
5 Minimum

This course meets, as do all our courses, in the We, Montana! Great Room.

James Pelham, assisted by Kay Pelham

$100 for the full year. You may pay the whole $100 in advance, or $50 by September 1 and then $60 by the first day of class in January.