Mr. James Kunz

Phone: 208 - 350 - 4255


Degrees and Certifications:

Bachelor of Science, Mathematics Graduate Certificate in Secondary Education

Mr. James Kunz

Hello and welcome back!

 My name is Mr. Kunz (Mr. K) and I'm excited to be teaching Math this year.  I taught and tutored university math students for several years, and then decided to return to Boise State University to certify for public school education.  I'm interested in nearly everything - from music to games, sports to science, literature to history.  Math is a subject inherently connected to all of these topics, and I enjoy building connections with students every day.  
Our world is changing quickly.  While many math and education ideas are fundamental, the way we communicate has been revolutionized by the digital age - in the classroom, just as in real life.  None of my math classes this year will have a traditional paper-bound book, in contrast to what parents remember in school.  Instead we will bring in material from a variety of paper and electronic sources and meld them together.  We'll focus on paper-and-pencil computation, but we'll also draw diagrams, manipulate electronic presentations and play with physical models.  Students will create and maintain their own "textbook" using the materials we work with every day.
I teach two courses at EMS:
Math 7 is a course that might have been called pre-algebra a decade ago.  Today, this unified course includes algebraic concepts as well as ratios, probability, statistics and some geometry.  This course forms a bridge to extensive formula-based algebra next year, taking every concept that was introduced in 6th grade and expanding on it.  Our focus will be on maturing our problem-solving and making sure we can communicate our models, methods and solutions clearly.  It's no longer enough to "know the answer in our heads."  Although students may correctly remember some concepts, they'll now be challenged to systematize their approaches, translate complex situations to abstract formulas, and recognize patterns or key information in equations before solving numerically.  We'll emphasize math as a language of persuasion - if another person isn't convinced by your methods and solution, your "answer" has no value!
Math 8 is a significantly accelerated course that propels advanced students through 7th and 8th grade math topics in a single year.  Students in this course should have a mastery of basic number sense and rational number operations in advance, and must practice every day to stay at mastery level throughout the year.  Our main resource for Math 8 is DiscoveryEd online, so students should plan time with internet access outside of class (at home, in the library or after school) to do homework daily and solidify their understanding of shaky topics.  Students on the advanced track will experience their first highschool-level course next year, with permanent transcript effects.  We'll emphasize the importance of habits and organization every day.
Throughout the year, I will be posting online resources and links that support our classwork.  Never hesitate to ask questions in class, after school, or by email.  I look forward to another great year together!