Master of Natural Sciences (MNS)


Natural Sciences (Interdepartmental Program)

Document Type



The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics were released in June of 2010 and full implementation into our schools is being required in the fall of 2013. The standards require teachers and students to be more focused and rigorous in what they teach and learn. This shift in learning towards focus, coherence, fluency, deep understanding, and applications was to improve math education in the United States so that our students become more competitive in the global economy of the 21st century and to help more students to be college and career ready by grade twelve. It is now necessary for teachers and students to be more prepared for both the Standards for Mathematical Content and the Standards for Mathematical Practice. With teachers giving students more opportunities to experience the usefulness of the mathematical language as outlined in the Standards for Mathematical Practice, students will be entering post-secondary education with a stronger mathematical background. Introducing students to more rigorous, more challenging, and more interesting mathematics in earlier grades will allow students to be more prepared to take on the challenges of a college-preparatory fourth math class in high school, whether it be honors, dual enrollment or advanced placement. This thesis shows how integrating basic calculus concepts into a middle school classroom through linear functions will allow students to be more aware of what a higher math class involves without having to be afraid of the unknown. Implementation of the Common Core Standards is requiring a big chunk of Advanced Mathematics, Geometry, and Algebra II to be moved down into lower grades, and eighth grade math is no exception. The thesis shows that eighth grade students are able to understand and apply elementary calculus concepts as long as they are taught with grade-appropriate language using what they already know. In fact, students in middle school, especially in eighth grade, do have the mental capability and mathematical maturity to do higher level mathematics and comprehend more advanced mathematical concepts and ideas if presented in the language of linear functions and basic triangle geometry.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Neubrander, Frank