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Math Education Programs

For students at OSU interested in becoming a future educator, there are a variety of options available to you in pursuing your future career goals.  Math education spans all age levels and the Department of Mathematics works hard to meet the needs of students interested in teaching early childhood, middle childhood, or upper level integrated mathematics.  Below is a breakdown of the levels as relevant to the math coursework required.  Please select the area that is most relevant to the interested student in order to learn more about the programs and the math courses required.

  • Grades Pre K-9 Education: Students interested in early or middle childhood will be a declared major through the Education and Human Ecology Department, but the coursework related to math pedagogy lies in the Department of Mathematics.
  • Grades 7-12 Education: Student interested in teaching junior high or high school mathematics have the option of declaring a major through the Education and Human Ecology Department or the Department of Mathematics.


PreK-9 Education

The Department of Mathematics is pleased to offer two programs for future teachers. Both programs promote mathematics as something that springs from reasoning, not as a mere collection of rules and skills to follow. We hope that our students will foster this view in their future students. If we are successful, both our students and their future students will have ownership of mathematics for life, instead of temporarily "borrowing" it from a teacher.


For those majoring in Early Childhood Education (pre-K to grade 3), Special Education, and Middle Childhood Education (non-math specialists, grades 4 to 9), we offer the following two course sequence:

For those majoring in Middle Childhood Mathematics Teaching, we offer the following five course sequence:

Philosophy and Resources

Our students re-create elementary and middle school mathematics for themselves, thereby deepening their own understanding of its meanings and uses. They not only solve problems but also learn to effectively explain those problems, the underlying mathematics, and methods of solution to their peers and their eventual students. Our goals are

  1. to deepen our students' understanding of the mathematics they will teach,
  2. to give our students' more insight into what it means to learn and teach mathematics.

We achieve these goals through problem-solving and mathematical discussion, core activities of all our courses.

  • Mathematics Academic Content Standards for the State of Ohio [pdf]
  • Polya's Ten Commandments for Teachers:
    1. Be interested in your subject.
    2. Know your subject.
    3. Know about the ways of learning: The best way to learn anything is to discover it by yourself.
    4. Try to read the faces of your students, try to see their expectations and difficulties, put yourself in their place.
    5. Give them not only information, but "know-how," attitudes of mind, the habit of methodical work.
    6. Let them learn guessing. 
    7. Let them learn proving.
    8. Look out for such features of the problem at hand as may be useful in solving the problems to come—try to disclose the general pattern that lies behind the present concrete situation.
    9. Do not give away your whole secret at once—let the students guess before you tell it--let them find out for themselves as much as feasible.
    10. Suggest it, do not force it down their throats.


While our team does change from time to time, the core players are Herb ClemensVic FerdinandBrad FindellBetsy McNeal, and Bart Snapp. We are all very interested in both mathematics and math education and are very excited to be working with these courses.

Just for Fun

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7-12 Math Education

Students interested in teaching grades 7-12 Integrated Mathematics have a couple of options in preparing for this career.  Students can choose from the following links to read more about each program offered:

Students interested in pursuing a bachelor's degree in BOTH Mathematics (education track) and in Education should meet with an advisor to discuss these options.  Many courses on the B.S.Ed prerequisite section for math teachers overlap with the math major itself.  This means a student could do both degrees by simply adding a few more courses to their undergraduate plan.

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[pdf] - Some links on this page are to .pdf files.  If you need these files in a more accessible format, please math@osu.edu . PDF files require the use of Adobe Acrobat Reader software to open them. If you do not have Reader, you may use the following link to Adobe to download it for free at: Adobe Acrobat Reader.