After making a hit with its “Geometry in Construction” course, the mathematics department at Evanston Township High School plans to follow it next year with “Algebra in Entrepreneurship.”

The revelation came Monday night at the District 202 Board meeting by Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Peter Bavis and Math Department chair Dale Leibforth.

Coupled with another new course, “Information Technology Internship,” it puts the school on track to develop the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg.

Actually, the new algebra course is designed for students who did not successfully complete algebra in the eighth grade, Bavis said.  But it is enhanced by coupling it with a course in entrepreneurship through the school’s Career and Technical Education Department that takes advantage of the school’s relationship with the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

It is a double-period co-taught course that combines 1 Algebra content with entrepreneurship, according to the background material presented to the board.

“As students move into algebraic expressions and equations, students will learn basic formulas used within business for tracking gross profit and net income as well as developing forecasts and estimates,” the memo said.

It continues: “The creation of formulas in spreadsheets which substitute cell references for variables directly reinforces algebraic concepts. As students move into graphs in algebra, the process of marketing/product research and evaluation of that research correlates nicely to the content area. As students move into lines and then functions, supply/demand, fixed vs. variable costs, pricing, and financial statements all map well.”

“Think of it as ‘Shark Tank’ meets algebra,” Bavis concluded.

The Information Technology Internship, Bavis said, is based upon a successful model used at Leyden Township High School. Students will be taught both the fundamentals of effective customer service and business teamwork, along with the technical skills required to maintain the Chromebook computers that students use in their classrooms.

Another class that will be offered in the science curriculum is a course in astrophysics.

“If you Google high school astrophysics,” Bavis said, “you come up with college courses.”

The new course is an outgrowth of the current astronomy course, Bavis said, but it is a quantitative approach to astronomy.

While the class will not be taught in the school’s planetarium, he said, it will make use of it.

The accompanying material said that “the four main areas that will be explored in this course are orbital motion, exoplanets, cosmology, and light. The math aspect of this class will be primarily advanced algebra based, but calculus principles would be introduced, explained, and used within certain topics.”

Students will also be able to compete in a variety of NASA-based competitions using this course as a foundation, it said.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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1 Comment

  1. Fantastic… But

    I think this is great, particularly coordinating with Kellogg – a wonderful resource.

    But, teaching "Math for Billionaires", does this not go against the core principle of Liberals to view "millionaires & billionaires" with disdain?  Was this not one of Obama's principle attacks against Romney?

    And entrepeneurship… I will not even go there.  I guess accepted only if you intend to be a non-profit.


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