Integrated Mathematics

Mathematics: A Personal Account
It was July 13th, 2009, and I walked into Math 100 thinking I was going to be the class star, that this course would be as easy as a walk through the park. After all, I’d aced all my math classes in high school. I was the one that the teacher had helping the struggling students. I was the one who never had to take a book home in all six math classes. Our classes were based on an “Integrated” system, classes consisted of Math 1-5, and Calculus.
The Integrated Mathematics system works as such: Integrated Math 1-3 is the equivalent of Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Geometry. However, the topics are covered in a different order, and Algebra 1 is not completed until the end of Math 3. Math 4 is based around reviewing 1-3, and introducing Trigonometry. During Integrated Math 5, a student learns Trigonometry and some Pre-Calculus.
My freshman year we skimmed the surface of every concept, instead of focusing on one area and one area only. The rest of the series followed the same way. It was incredibly easy for me and many other students at Harper Creek High School (Battle Creek, Mi.) to sleep through the first half of class, wake up, and ace tests.
To my liking, the first two days of Math 100 were extremely easy. We reviewed what an integer was, (at that time I almost walked out and demanded my money back from the school), and then how to operate with fractions. After we got deeper into chapter one, the teacher used things I’ve never seen before, to do things I’ve never seen before. It was like I had never been taught math before. I felt like I knew nothing.
Calculator dependency is one of the major downfalls of the integrated system. Students are taught not how to solve complex problems by hand, but how to type them into a calculator for an answer. At Harper Creek, a calculator was required to start as a freshman. Harper Creek’s Mathematics description even says, “As students problem solve, they make use of the technology of a...