Math Department adds directed study class

Next year the current math Directed Study: Number Theory course will be replaced with new Directed Study: Abstract Algebra course. Four students, Ben Barad ’09, Rebecca Jacobs ’09, Biswaroop Mukherjee ’09 and Josh Oreman ’09 are enrolled in the course.

The course was created because Oreman, who took AP Calculus C through an online distance-learning program in ninth grade, Advanced Seminar in Mathematics Honors in 10th grade, and is now in Directed Study: Number Theory in 11th, wanted to continue his math education at Harvard-Westlake rather than at a university and had taken all of the courses already offered.

“I get to take [this class] alongside other motivated and engaged high school students, as opposed to college kids who might not really care as much,” Oreman said. “The university course might, formally speaking, go more in-depth or faster, but the H-W one is more relaxed and exploratory of the subject. Right now I care about the latter; I can always cram facts into my head later.”

While the material in this course, which will be taught by math teacher Kevin Weis, parallels the curriculum of the number theory course, it involves solving theoretical problems and talking about the number system. Head of the Math Department Paula Evans said students in the class will talk about the characteristics of systems by starting with a “group” and doing and undoing operations without the bias of previous knowledge. 

 “I am proud that our teachers have masters and the ability to teach upper level courses. It allows us to adjust the curriculum to fit student’s needs,” Evans said.

“I’m very much looking forward to it, because it’s an area of math about which I have precious little knowledge. Also, I know Mr. Weis is passionate about the material, which always makes class fun and interesting,” Oreman said. “The H-W curriculum has more than met my expectations.”