Campus Briefs Curriculum News

Math department strives to accommodate advanced students

By Joseph Valencia ’17
THE ROUNDUP


Brophy’s math curriculum has undergone changes in recent years in order to adapt to the large influx of advanced math students.

Many of these students come from the Basis system, and arrive at Brophy already equipped to handle AP Calculus BC, which used to be the final math course available.

Mr. Ian Aston, the department chair, credits the beginning of this revamping process to his predecessors.

“The previous department chairs, Doug Cox and Bill Woods, were very thoughtful in caring for these new students, and Ms. [Jessie] Mason being able to teach at a higher level really helped in figuring out how to meet the needs of these students.”

Once a student has completed AP Calculus BC, they study with Ms. Mason for four semester long classes, totaling two years. They begin with Differential Equations, then move on Multi-variable Calculus, Linear Algebra and finally Number Theory.

However, there are some students who will have taken all of Ms. Mason’s classes by the time they are seniors. In response, the math department is considering offering a year of independent study, where a student will choose advanced concepts to learn about while being overseen by Mr. Aston or Ms. Mason.

For the independent study, the department is considering a number of online courses with one of the options being a program called “MIT Primes.”

“It’s a research program connected with MIT where students across the nation work on unsolved math problems, research level mathematics,” Mr. Aston said. “The cool thing here is that students aren’t bound by conventional rules, since these concepts aren’t fully understood.”

Michael Niebling ’18 will be the first student to enter independent study for his senior year math course.

“I’m planning on taking some online courses offered by Stanford,” Niebling said. “Some courses that interest me are linear algebra and real analysis. I don’t think there will be a lot of credit for it, but it’s a good way to get an introduction.”