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UC Davis Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education (C-STEM) --- Research and Outreach
Home > Teachers & Administrators > Professional Development > 2011-2012 > Fall Academy

Fall Academy

2011 Fall Academy on Pre-Algebra and Algebra I Support
— Using 21st Century Skills to Strengthen Logical Thinking

8:30am-5pm, Saturdays September 10, 17, and 24, 2011
1062 Bainer Hall, UC Davis Campus

Algebra is one of the most difficult topics for students to learn. It is considered the gatekeeper for student’s pursuit of careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Working with K-12 educators, the UC Davis K-14 Outreach Center for Computing and STEM Education (C-STEM) has developed a new strategy to support Algebra instruction. This academy trains educators who teach Pre-Algebra and Algebra I in both classroom and afterschool programs to effectively use this new strategy. Through a sequence of well-designed simple, concise, and self-contained math lab sessions, basic concepts of Algebra will be reinforced through practical applications. Concurrently, students will learn the fundamentals of computing, underlying working principles of computers, and computer programming for problem solving. The C-STEM Center and the NSF CREST Program will help trainees to implement the program.

Intended Audience
This Academy is geared toward grades 5-12 teachers and afterschool program paraeducators teaching Algebra Readiness, Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, as well as other math, science, and engineering courses. More specifically:

  • Teachers who are interested in learning new ways to engage students in analytical thinking and problem solving skills where traditional methods have failed.
  • Teachers who want to teach “at risk” students using hands-on activities and project-based methods in the areas of math, science, and technology.
  • Teachers who want to teach “gifted” students to excel in math with hands-on activities and project-based methods.
  • Teachers looking to increase their use of computers as a teaching and learning tool.
  • Teachers interested in providing students with 21st century career skills.

Outline of Topics

  • Order of Arithmetic Operations
  • Fundamental Properties of Numbers
  • Variables and Their Applications in Computing
  • Irrational Numbers
  • Graphing and Solving Linear Equations
  • Understanding Functions
  • Evaluating and Plotting Polynomials
  • Graphing and Solving Quadratics
  • Plotting Inequalities and Systems of Inequalities
  • Graphing and Solving Systems of Linear Equations
  • Graphs of Rational Functions
  • Radical and Exponential Functions

Outcome for Trainees’ Students

  1. Through a set of interactive computing and applied problem solving activities in a C/C++ interpreter Ch, students will gain a better understanding of algebra concepts and their applications
  2. Students will learn the fundamentals of computing, underlying working principles of computers, and computer programming for problem solving
  3. Students will be able to participate in the UC Davis Robot Challenge Competition during the UC Davis C-STEM Day on May 5, 2012

Cost: $299/teacher register before September 7, 2011; $349/teacher register after September 7, 2011.
Participants should have an Algebra I background. Registration covers instruction, supplementary textbooks, teaching materials, software licenses for teaching, morning beverage, lunch, and UC Davis C-STEM Center support for implementation of the program. Laptops are necessary during the training. Parking is free.


  1. An optional $130 for 2.4 Continuing Education Unit quarter credits from UC Davis Extension. Credits request forms available on the first day of the class.
  2. 24 Professional Development Credit hours upon training completion for teachers in Yolo County (Sacramento and other counties pending).

For Professional Development Credit inqueries, please contact:

Coordinator for the 2011 Fall Academy
Heidi Espindola, Math Teacher and Math Department Chair
California Aerospace Academy
Gateway Community Charters
Twin Rivers Unified School District
Email: heidi.espindola(AT)twinriversusd(DOT)org

For general information, please contact:

Kevin Gucwa, Director Assistant
UC Davis C-STEM Center
Email: kgucwa(AT)ucdavis(DOT)edu

Harry Cheng, Professor and Director, UC Davis C-STEM Center
Kevin Gucwa, Director Assistant, UC Davis C-STEM Center
Francesca DeFazio, Math Teacher, Westmore Oaks Elementary School, Washington Unified School District
Heidi Espindola, Math Teacher and Math Dept Chair, California Aerospace Academy, Gateway Community Charters, Twin Rivers Unified School District
Spencer Krautkraemer, Math Teacher, Esparto K-8, Esparto Unified School District
Ryan Mangan, Engineering Teacher, School of Engineering and Sciences, Sacramento City Unified School District

Deadline for early registration: September 7, 2011 to secure a spot at $299
Registration is available: Register
Space is limited; please sign up early to reserve your spot. More information is available about the Algebra Academy in pdf form here.

The UC Davis K-14 Outreach Center for Computing and STEM Education (C-STEM)

UC Davis C-STEM Center, Yolo County Office of Education, Sacramento County Office of Education, and California AfterSchool Network

Financial Supporter
National Science Foundation under the Grant CNS-1132709

Teachers’ Testimonials

“I used the C-STEM Algebra curriculum last year. The material provided students with real-world skills proving math to be both applicable and enjoyable. Standards-aligned and user-friendly computing activities are an exceptional addition to my Algebra I curriculum because it helps make abstract ideas concrete and allow students to apply mathematical concepts to the real world.”

— Francesca DeFazio, Math Teacher and MA, Westmore Oaks Elementary School

“The C-STEM curriculum allows students to practice their math skills outside of the traditional classroom learning while getting a unique opportunity to develop skills that can directly lead to job possibilities in the future. This is an excellent combination of technology, problem solving, and a chance to strengthen logical thinking. I will definitely be integrating this into my classroom in the coming year.”

— Megan Schoellhamer, Math Teacher, Bridgeway Island Elementary School

“The C-STEM Pre-Algebra and Algebra curricula can benefit kids by providing them with an engaging and accessible way to learn math concepts that can be very challenging for some students. This is a way for students to learn that makes abstract concepts more real.”

— Spencer Krautkraemer, Math Teacher, Esparto K-8 School

“The C-STEM Algebra curriculum extends my students math knowledge and engages them in real world application of the standards I am teaching. It truly is a math curriculum that utilizes technology rather than the other way around. The computing curriculum allows my students to delve even farther into programming as they learn project-oriented techniques that are commonly used in industry. After exposure to this curriculum my students leave excited about what they have learned, how they can apply it and their own potential for a STEM related career.”

— Heidi Espindola, Math Teacher and Math Dept Chair, California Aerospace Academy, Gateway Community Charters, Twin Rivers Unified School District


“This is a great way to engage kids in math- especially those students who struggle to see how math relates to the real world. When we talk about giving kids ’21st century skills’ and ‘closing the achievement gap’, the C-STEM curricula can really make a difference for students and teachers.”

— Brian Donnelly Ed.D., STEM Program Coordinator and Industrial Technology Teacher, Harper Junior High School

“The C-STEM Pre-Algebra and Algebra curricula can benefit kids by giving students the opportunity to increase their logical reasoning skills. This curriculum is accessible to all students and can be easily adapted/integrated into any existing algebra program.”

— Karl Ronning, Math Teacher, Davis Senior High School

“Unlocking a well hidden truth: Math can be a wonderfully creative and useful tool, not only in school but in your everyday life. Using Ch as a medium allows students to be the artists and algebra to be the paintbrush.”

— Chris Schlesselman, Lead CTE Teacher, Technology & Engineering Design Academy, Hiram W Johnson High School

“The C-STEM Pre-Algebra and Algebra curricula can benefit kids by making mathematics an exciting, interactive, tangible thing. Not only will this content help students in their math classes, it will initiate them into a fraternity of a very few, those that can program computers! These are marketable skills that can help pay college bills and pave their way to rewarding occupations. I am very proud to have been a part of this program because I know it will help kids.”

— Joseph Stymeist, Engineering Teacher, School of Engineering and Sciences

“The C-STEM curriculum will benefit students by providing them with the necessary critical thinking and problem solving skills that the job market requires. I feel that in our current curriculum ideas and facts are stressed more than strategies and analytic skills. In my opinion, by stressing the strategies and skills needed to solve problems, rather than focusing on all the individual problems themselves, our students will be fully equipped to tackle any obstacle. The C-STEM curriculum will provide such skills.”

— Ryan Mangan, Engineering Teacher, School of Engineering and Sciences