University at Albany, College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Mathematics and Statistics

AMAT 521: Algebra for Teachers, Fall 2011


Prof. Marco Varisco, (how to email a professor),
Office: ES-120C, Office Hours: M 2:45–5:35, W 2:45–4:05, or by appointment.


W 4:15–7:05 in ES-143.


AMAT 220 and AMAT 326/327, or equivalent courses.


The algebra of polynomial and rational expressions, equations and inequalities has long been the core of school mathematics, and will be the core of this course. The main goal of the course is to enable you to articulate connections between algebraic topics taught in secondary school and more advanced topics in modern algebra, not all of which you will have seen before this course. In particular, you should be able to describe how various topics in the secondary curriculum represent special cases of more general algebraic theories. The course should help you build a knowledge base to critically examine the content of secondary school textbooks and curriculum materials, to respond to unexpected student questions about the course content, and to be able to explain to your students connections between content in the secondary curriculum and relatively recently discovered applications in the real world. But perhaps the most important goal of the course is that you should gain a greater appreciation for the subject you will be teaching.

Textbook coverTextbook

A Concrete Introduction to Higher Algebra, Lindsay N. Childs.
Third Edition, Springer, Undergraduate Texts in Mathematics, 2008.
[Remarks and errata]


Chapters 7, 13–18, 23–27.

Grading & Examinations

This syllabus is subject to change. All official announcements and assignments are given in class, and this web page may not be up to date.
Marco Varisco — August 31, 2011.