Reitz | MEDU 3000 | D200 | Spring 2022

OpenLab: Advice for the Future

Assignment, due Wednesday, 5/18/22 (300 words minimum): Imagine that you are invited to speak on the first day of MEDU 3000, to give advice to entering students.  Write at least 300 words responding to one or more of the following questions, describing what you would say to the class.

  1. What do you wish that you had been told at the start of this class, to help you succeed?
  2. Choose one topic in the course that is especially challenging. Identify it, and give advice to students trying to master that topic.
  3. What is the most important prior knowledge (not taught in the class) that you need in order to succeed?  Why is it important?

Extra Credit.  Respond to someone else’s comment.  Do you agree? disagree? Have anything to add?


  1. Ihn Lee

    What do you wish that you had been told at the start of this class, to help you succeed?
    By the time you take this course, you must be familiar with k-12 math. This course deals with math before calculus and uses Wu’s math textbook that he writes specifically for math teachers for better math education for k-12 students. The reason why he writes the series of books is the problems that Textbook School Mathematics (TSM) has. Lack of defining mathematical terms is one and Prof. Reitz uses Wu’s definition during the class. I am used to solving problems, not defining mathematical terms. You may question yourself why we need to study the definition, but the course starts with the ‘why’. In addition, you are asked to answer the definition in the test, I recommend you familiarize yourself with them.

    Choose one topic in the course that is especially challenging. Identify it, and give advice to students trying to master that topic.
    One topic I wasn’t familiar with was ‘Quadratic Functions and Parabolas.’ I am good at factoring and calculating roots. However, I didn’t know about the parabola’s characteristics, such as vertex, focus, and directrix. The lecture from Prof. Reitz helped me understand. I am confident with the content now that I am not afraid of teaching this anymore. My advice to people who have the same issue as me is that you should focus on the lesson and don’t hesitate to ask questions when you don’t understand.

    What is the most important prior knowledge (not taught in the class) that you need in order to succeed? Why is it important?
    In order to pass this course, you have to score higher than 85 on the regents test. Since it is a requirement of this course, I would like to emphasize the importance of familiarizing k-12 math. You can find the study guide at to prepare for the exam or any regents exam by searching it. The goal is to navigate the contents you need to work on. You are given only three opportunities during the semester and you may not have enough time to study if you take other courses at the same time. Therefore if there are many parts that you need to study, you should be ready early.

  2. anik

    Before taking this course, I didn’t know that it will cover materials from the regent exams which I have taken a long time ago. But since I couldn’t remember a lot of those small details about High school level algebra 2 and geometry due to lack of practice, it makes me realize no matter how could you think you are at something if your lacking practice you wouldn’t perform with your full potential, which is true for anything in life. moreover, before this course, I didn’t have enough understanding of the negative sides of TSM. Even though I don’t like to read definitions from the book to understand something, after the information, I get from WU, I wouldn’t even use the textbook to teach any student about mathematics.

    Most of the topics covered during this course were really familiar to me, however, I feel like I didn’t have a great understanding of parabola before taking this class. I wouldn’t say it was really challenging to understand the vertex, directrix, or focus of the parabola, but it was something I have never done before. which makes this topic slightly challenging but exciting at the same time. especially I like the fact, that we could able to find the equation of the parabola where focus and directrix were known.

    The most important prior knowledge for this class was knowing the basics of the regent exam questions. due to my experiences of taking multiple different regent exams for mathematics such as algebra and geometry, I could score over 85 and pass the exam. I think using your prior knowledge is more important than just having it and throughout this course, we had to use our prior knowledge for different chapters such as number lines, fractions, quadratic equations, probability, etc.

    overall I would say, it’s crucial to do well in these courses to get certified as a mathematics teacher in the future and I believe any students who have some prior knowledge and know how to develop their knowledge over time, can do well in this course.

    • Ihn Lee

      I agree with you about knowing definitions and studying regents exam. Since I have not taken regents in this countr, I need to know what kind problems they select.
      As English is my second language, studying definition was tough. I didn’t really study mathematical definition in Korea. But I think it is always helpful to know them when you study math!

  3. Qing Chen(Charlotte)

    At the beginning of this class, you must prepare a notebook, you must take notes, and every word the professor writes on the board must be copied, because when you are going to study for the exam, every content in the notebook will help you, as long as you can understand what is in the notebook, you will be able to answer 90% of the exam questions. I suggest that you better print out the courseware in the open lab for each class. When you are taking notes, you can write the notes on the open lab class notepaper. Synchronous recording of information can make you better remember the knowledge points when reviewing the exam. When you complete the reading and writing assignments assigned by the professor every week, you must be more serious. After each lesson, you must go back to the beginning to answer the questions asked by the professor and make sure you can answer them. You should spend more time reviewing how to do the math REGENTS EXAM, not the day before the exam. The professor will notify you a month before the exam, so take what the professor says to heart. You have three chances to take Exam 1for REGENTS EXAM, make sure you pass the first two times! Before you take the exam, be sure to review the review sheet given by your professor. When you have any questions, you can send an email to ask the professor questions. You can also ask the teacher questions after class. Remember not to ask questions after the exam. You need to understand every question in the review sheet when you take the test. Be sure to bring enough pencils and a calculator to the exam. Be sure to read the questions carefully during the exam. As long as you review and read the questions carefully, I believe you will do well in the exam.

  4. Angie

    At the start of the class I wish I was told that TSM was not a good practice, and that the course would be dealt with not what but how? So that students will be able to understand concepts instead of memorizing them. Going into class with a different mindset would have been such a great help. I also wish I knew that you had to take a regents exam and pass with a score greater than a 85. I was very bright in all the topics I learned from highschool but my memory was a blur. Although I passed on the first try, I feel that it was luck. I still was not familiarized with all the concepts, and I wish I knew so I could have refreshed my memory. However, Professor Reitz made concepts very understandable, and I had many “ ooohhh “ moments, which is good because that meant I 100% understood why and how.
    One topic in the course that is especially challenging to me was geometry, specifically finding the sides of the triangle given corresponding angles or sides. Growing up geometry has never been my favorite, but mastering it isn’t impossible. I would recommend looking through a lot of examples and solving them, many problems are similar just using different numbers and letters. Also never be afraid to ask for help, or speak up when something is not clear.
    The most important prior knowledge that was necessary was the formatting of a regents exam, what type of questions would be on it, and 7-12 mathematical knowledge. Basically have a sense of knowledge on how to approach common core problems.

  5. Rachel J Dawidowicz

    Before taking the course, I didn’t know my philosophies about math education would be confirmed by TSM (thanks to a few former math professors who voiced similar concerns). I wish I knew about the regents exam so I’d have more time to prepare (as a former program advisor told us that basic math is sometimes forgotten even by STEM students when unpracticed).
    For me such was geometry. I last took geometry in 2012 when I was in high school, so much of the math was a blur due to doing advanced math and not touching the basics.
    The foundational math by far is more important. I was speaking to my former calculus professor not too long ago and he told me that high school math is the foundation for college level mathematics, which proves why we as teachers should have that concrete knowledge to prepare our students who want to continue their education post secondary.

  6. Irina Chernyavskiy

    1) I wish I had known that I had to actively review the courses that I had already taken instead of just going on to higher levels of math. Actively reviewing would have helped create better connections between the lower level materials and upper level maths. Another thing that I wished I would have done is to record all the lectures so that I could fill in what I missed during the lecture. The audio recording would have also helped when I organized and rewrote my notes

    2) The most challenging topic was the dealing with finding the vertex, directrix and focus of the parabola . Some of the questions from Algebra 2 were a challenge because this information was covered but it’s been a while since I have seen those concepts. My advice is make notes on the topic you most struggle with example and any variations of the problems read those notes before bed and you’ll be good for the exams.

    3) The most important math is middle school and high school math since everything builds on itself. The other piece of critical knowledge is the format of the exam if you know both well then you can prepare your students more effectively to move on to whatever is next for them

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