The following course descriptions detail the likely offerings during any school year, though specifics will vary from term to term and course lineups are always changing. Click on the course titles below for full descriptions.
This is an advanced computer science course designed for students who wish to learn not only how to code, but to deepen their understanding of computer science and learn how to structure their programs using an object-oriented approach. Taught in the Java programming language, it provides an in-depth study of topics including basic data types, the binary representation of data, iterative and recursive algorithms, the design of data structures, algorithmic efficiency, and the use of abstraction and inheritance in software design. Students will be engaged in the practice of computer programming on a daily basis, working independently or in small groups. Emphasis is placed on the development of good programming style, and a user-oriented design paradigm. Where possible, examples are drawn from mathematics, the natural sciences, and the history of computing.
This course covers the data structures and algorithms foundational to the college-level study of computer science. Using a project-based model, the course covers linked lists, abstract data types, queues, stacks, binary trees, heaps, priority queues, sets, maps, hashing, exhaustive search, and sorting. Artificial learning algorithms are also presented, including Q-Learning, genetic algorithms and, if time permits, neural networks. Students will be enrolled concurrently in the school's FIRST robotics team, and approximately 50% of the class time of fall and winter will be devoted to team design sprints.
This course explores the fundamental topics in calculus; limits, derivatives, integrals, and their applications. These topics are learned and explored in a less rigorous fashion than the honors level course, but students will still walk away with a deep conceptual understanding of these concepts that form the basis of all of calculus.
This course is designed for students who have successfully completed Math IV and elect to continue in Thacher’s mathematics program at a high level. It provides an in-depth study of limits, differential and integral calculus. Students are engaged in problem solving, reasoning, argument and communication. Emphasis is placed on exploring concepts from a numerical, graphical, and algebraic perspective.
The objective of Calculus II is to expand students’ knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of mathematics by studying the mathematics of change and the infinitely small. The concepts studied in this course will be explored from a graphical, numerical,
analytical, and verbal standpoint. Students will be taught to understand and answer questions using each of these approaches. This course supports a class atmosphere conducive to exploration, discovery, questioning, and collaboration. Students will be expected to present and defend their work. Topics include derivatives, integration, the calculus of parametric and polar functions, and sequence and series.
This course covers the data structures and algorithms foundational to college-level study of computer science and also acquaints students with introductory engineering principles and control theory related to the design, construction and operation of autonomous vehicles. Using a project-based model, the course covers linked lists, abstract data types, queues, stacks, binary trees, heaps, priority queues, sets, maps, hashing, exhaustive search, and sorting. In robotics, Lego Mindstorms are used to expose the student to computational theories of modeling in a “closed world,” ethology and animal behaviors, open- and closed-loop control, latency and hysteresis, finite state machines, PID, and behavior-based models for subsumption and hierarchical design. Artificial learning algorithms are also presented, including Q-Learning, genetic algorithms and, if time permits, neural networks.
This course is designed for students that have successfully completed Math 4 and elect to continue to an applications-based course at a high level. Students will study exploratory data analysis, experimental design, the concept of distributions of data, probability, graphical displays and numerical summaries of data, relationships of association and correlation, confidence and inference. Student projects will involve designing data collection, gathering and analyzing different types of data, displaying their research and analysis and presenting their work to their classmates and/or to wider audiences. Throughout, students will be expected to use technology to help organize and analyze their work and create mathematical models as a part of their study. Students’ agency will be manifested in their selection of project goals, their initiative in collecting and analyzing data and in formulating the means of presentation to their audience.
This foundational course aims to offer students a broad overview of algebraic topics. In this course students will hone their skills simplifying, evaluating, and solving the basic equations and functions of algebra. Within building fluency with these skills, students will develop the habit of problem solving. With this solid base in algebra, the students will have a successful career in mathematics at Thacher.
This course focuses on extending students’ skills in working with mathematics analytically, graphically and numerically and asks students to apply their algebraic reasoning to complex problems. Math II does not isolate algebra and geometry as separate branches of study, but instead teaches them in a way that shows their interconnectedness. Additionally, there is a conscious focus on integrating multiple STEM disciplines to showcase the deep relationships between topics and across fields. Concepts are arranged to support an overlapping math-physics program with full grade level lab activities. Embedding programming with Python into the mathematics content additionally enhances the algebra topics being studied and allows students to explore the topics more fully while gaining experience and confidence in coding. This along with using data to model real world events combine to make a comprehensive jumping off point for whatever path lies ahead.
This course continues the study of algebraic elementary functions such as quadratics and high order polynomials. It then dives deep into the family of exponential and logarithmic functions furthering student's study of mathematical relations. Students will also investigate conic sections, series and sequences and topics of second-year geometry. There will be many opportunities for students to explore, discover and prove their understanding of the topics through applications and real-world modeling.
Math IV is a culminating course in the foundations of mathematics that will prepare students for further study in courses such as statistics or calculus. Math IV has a large focus on the study of trigonometry and analytic trigonometry, but other pre-calculus topics are present as well such as vectors, polar coordinates, parametric equations, sequence & series and matrices. One honors section spends the last third of the year starting Calculus.
This course covers introductory material related to the mathematics of vectors and the behavior of functions in three and more dimensions. Coordinate systems covered include rectangular, polar, spherical and cylindrical. Vector-valued functions form the basis of early discussions, including derivatives, integrals, surface area, arc length and curvature. Limits and continuity support a treatment of directional derivatives, differentials and gradients, leading to coverage of extreme value problems and Lagrange multipliers. Iterated integrals and multiple integration are treated with an emphasis on center of mass, moments of inertia, surface area and volume. Finally, line and surface integrals are introduced in the context of conservative vector fields to support an understanding of Green’s Theorem and, later, Stokes Theorem.
Using a project-based model, this course introduces students to the subjects of robotics, control theory, and electrical engineering. Students will be engaged daily in the practice of applied problem solving, and will learn how to approach unknown problems using an iterative design process of design-build-test-tweak. All Robotics & EE students will be enrolled concurrently in the school's FIRST robotics team, and approximately 50% of the class time for fall and winter will be devoted to team design sprints. The other 50% of fall and winter will be spent on individual projects using Lego Mindstorms robots, designed to further develop students' engineering and programming skills. Spring term will be devoted to electrical engineering projects using Arduino microcontrollers.
Prerequisite: Completion of AP Computer Science with a 4 or better on the AP exam
This is a semester-long offering for seniors.
Mathematics Department Chair
East Stroudsburg University - BS California State University Northridge - MA
Henry spent most of his childhood in Virginia and Pennsylvania. After high school, he attended Berklee College of Music where he met his wife Justine. Two years in, Henry transferred schools, changing career paths from music engineering to math education. He graduated from East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania, earning a BS in mathematics along with a teaching certificate. He then moved to Los Angeles, California to begin his teaching career. Nine years of his teaching career were at Malibu High School where he acted as the math department chair. He has also earned his MA in educational administration from California State University, Northridge. At Thacher, Henry teaches mathematics and serves as the chair of the Mathematics Department. He also is an advisor to sophomore boys and coaches rock climbing. In his free time, Henry loves playing guitar, rock climbing, playing and watching ice hockey, traveling and spending time with his wife, Justine, and daughter, Adelaide.
Liz, came to Thacherin 2019. Along with teachingMath II and IV, she supports sophomore girls in the Middle School dorm. Liz spent most of her childhood in Los Angeles before heading to school in the Northeast. She studied at Phillips Exeter Academy and graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and studio art. She formerly taught geometry and painting at Exeter Summer School, has worked with underserved communities in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and has taught a range of mathematics courses at The Governor's Academy. Liz also shared a love for dance and was a performer/instructor of bachata and other social dances in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Some of her favorite hobbies include painting, sculpting, dancing, driving to remote areas, visiting national parks, and visiting friends and family with her husband, Alex.
Kamala teaches math, science, and programming classes at Thacher. She is the recipient of a bachelor’s and a doctorate degree from UCSB, where she conducted research on designing energy efficient microsystems to replace current technologies. She’s excited to not only be sharing her love of mathematics with Thacher students, but also to be introducing them to the fundamentals of programming and robotics. In 2006 she “retired from city life” and relocated to Ojai with her two sons in order to raise them in a more natural and peaceful environment.
Jon was born in New York but grew up surfing and playing sports in North County, San Diego. His first loves are poetry and music. However, Jon’s fascination with the natural world led him to the intellectual frontiers of astronomy and astrophysics, where he has published his research in several areas of specialization, including cosmology, star formation, exoplanets, and astronomical instrumentation. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from UCLA with a BS in physics, and earned an MA and a PhD in astronomy & astrophysics from UC Berkeley. At Thacher, Jon redesigned and renovated the campus observatory which now includes a fully automated, research-grade telescope. In addition to directing the observatory and maintaining a vibrant research program where students are able to participate in relevant astronomical research, Jon teaches astronomy, physics, mathematics, and data science. Outside the classroom, Jon runs the winter camping program and coaches the varsity boys’ tennis team. Jon lives on the Thacher campus with his wife Gloria, daughter Annika, and son Ansel.
An experienced teacher of AP Calculus and a reader of AP exams, Gallia has taught all levels of mathematics, including a post-AP course that introduces students to the geometry of space and prepares them for multivariable calculus studies. Gallia loves the patterns in mathematics and approaches much of her teaching with both graphical and algebraic methods. Some of her favorite topics to teach include modeling with trigonometric functions and polar graphing. Gallia also brings a lifelong passion for dance to her work at Thacher. She began training in classical ballet as a child and danced with the Cleveland Ballet before attending Princeton, where she fell in love with modern dance and musical theater. She has built the dance program to include technique classes in ballet and modern dance to support a student repertory company. Music is the driving force behind her work as both the inspiration and the basis of her choreographic plan. She brings dance and mathematics together in the creation of abstract, yet expressive, works that use patterns and canons to follow the textures she finds in the music. Before Thacher, she taught dance and mathematics at the Purnell School in Pottersville, New Jersey. Mother of two grown daughters, and now an advisor to junior girls, Gallia lives on campus with her husband Bill.
A college preparatory, coed boarding school for grades 9-12
Notice of nondiscriminatory policy as to students: The Thacher School admits students of any race, color, national, and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national, and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other School-administered programs.