About THis math website &
Jonathan Lawes :
(hence MathLawes)

The "Short Version" on how this website came to be:

I'm a nationally board certified teacher and I've successfully taught all levels of secondary math for over 25 years. My goal in making this material available to the public (and the math education community) is for it to be essentially "plug-n-play". It is by no means perfect...no curriculum, textbook, or method is, but anyone who knows a little bit about math should be able to watch the lessons and be able to learn (or help someone learn) math. Feel free to print the notes, watch the YouTube videos, and use the practice assignments. Better yet, if you're a teacher, take the material, improve it, and make it your own. All of the PDFs and videos are free to use, however, if you would like copies of the fully editable Word files, please click the dropdown below for the "Long Version", then contact me at mathlawes71@gmail.com. I would also appreciate it if you would subscribe to my YouTube channel and encourage others to do the same: youtube.com/c/mathlawes

Please click the dropdown arrow at right for the "Long Version".

In the early 1980's, I was in the lowest 7th grade math class possible; my friends and I called it "bonehead" 7th grade math. When it came time to register for 8th grade, my junior high in small town Idaho, switched to a computer registration system. I filled in the bubble to take "bonehead" 8th grade math, but somehow, when fall rolled around, I found myself in honors 8th grade math. The teacher was good and there were cute girls and cool guys, so I thought I'd try to stick it out. I wasn't great, but I did pretty well.

I stayed in honors math classes through high school and occasionally other students in class would ask me how to solve a problem. I found that I could explain the concepts so people understood. In fact, many students said my explanations made more sense than the teacher's; that was a huge confidence boost. I was a pretty good athlete and was on several teams, so when I wasn't playing in a game, I was watching, and I often found myself in the stands at JV games tutoring other students. If they complained about math and they didn't have their book, I'd tell them to go get it. I even convinced one friend to walk home, get her book, and then come back for help. (A few years ago I ran into her at a restaurant. She told me that day changed her life. She realized she could learn math if she put her mind to it. She now works in accounting and finance. I had no idea the impact that day had on her.)

Coming from a small town and a blue-collar family, I wasn't really interested in doing my best in school. I got good grades for the most part, but I really didn't know much about college or the workplace. I talked to a school guidance counselor once when I was pulled out of class and told I needed to take the ACT, whatever that was. My parents had done a great job instilling a solid work ethic and a desire to do my best. Since I was good at explaining math, I figured becoming a math teacher was a logical choice. I got a partial scholarship to the University of Utah, so that's where I started my journey. I moved out, got married, and started college all within a three month period in the early 1990's.

It took me three years to get through school, but it wasn't easy. I had gone from a town of 10,000 to a university of 25,000. I saw one person I knew the entire first term; I was lonely, depressed, and questioning my ability to get through school. For the first two years, every time I started a new math class there was a voice in my head that said, "Lawes, you're a fraud. They are going to find out you have no idea what you are doing." I was getting good grades, but I continually felt like someone was going to tap me on the shoulder and say, "Hey buddy...you're out of your league." Of course, that never happened, but what did happen is I found that even if I wasn't the smartest person in the room, I could figure things out if I worked hard.

Some of the most intimidating classes a math major has to take are "analysis" classes. Mathematical analysis requires proofs for everything from the simplest concepts to complex ideas that serve as the basis for calculus. I distinctly remember looking at problems that were a paragraph long and they didn't have any numbers or recognizable symbols in them. It took days to understand the problem and weeks to think of an answer. Sometimes I'd wake up in the middle of the night after weeks of thinking about a problem and say, "That's it!" I'd get up and write a three page answer to a one paragraph problem. The voice in my head had changed from, "You're a fraud" to "You can do this if you work hard."

I graduated with a bachelor's degree in math and started my career at Crescent View Middle School. I taught general math 7 through intermediate algebra (algebra 2) and then moved to Bingham High School after five years. During my seven years at Bingham I taught everything from algebra to concurrent enrollment college courses to AP Calculus (AB & BC) and AP Statistics. While at Bingham, I completed a master's degree in educational counseling as well as a master's in math.

I left Bingham and worked in the mortgage industry for a few years. This gave me some valuable experience and some good friends, but I returned to the classroom at Itineris Early College High School. Since Itineris is an early college high school that was housed on a community college campus, I taught many of college courses with both high school and college students enrolled in them. I taught everything from college prep math to Math 1010 Intermediate Algebra to Math 1220 Calculus II. While at Itineris, I started recording live lessons using screen capture software and then made the lessons and the notes available to students on a website. (That website was the precursor to what you see now.)

Itineris was a great experience for me, but I had always wanted to go back to the middle school level. I really wanted to see if I could make a bigger difference by catching students at a younger age and making sure they had a good experience and a solid foundation in math. So, I got a job at Elk Ridge Middle School in 2015. I started by teaching honors 7th grade math and regular 8th grade math. The honors students were awesome and would have done well no matter who taught them. My goal was to have most of the regular 8th grade students test "proficient" on the end-of-year test, so I poured my heart and soul into them. I wrote guided notes, planned lessons, adjusted assignments, and wrote assessments that were all patterned after what had worked so well for me with other students at other schools. I offered incentives, rewards, extra time, and extra attention.

At the end of the year, my 7th graders went from being 75% proficient in 6th grade to 96% proficient at the end of 7th grade; that was nice! Meanwhile, my 8th graders had gone from being 21% proficient in 7th grade to all of 28% proficient at the end of 8th grade; I WAS DEVASTATED!!! I couldn't believe it and I would have felt like a complete failure had I not had success with the same teaching methods at other schools with all levels of students. I decided catching students in 8th grade wasn't soon enough, we had to catch students in 7th grade if we had any hope of helping them change their trajectory. So, I told my principal I wanted to teach all of the regular 7th grade classes, even if that meant teaching all seven periods of the day with no break (lots of friends told me I was insane to choose such a schedule). I also told him I wanted to create videos and a website with all of the class resources so they would be available at anytime. This would make it so if a student missed class or a parent wanted to help them, they would have 100% access to the learning materials. That started three years of making videos and adding to the website as I moved from teaching 7th grade, to 8th grade, to 9th grade.

The results have been very good. Elk Ridge is a great school and the math department is amazing! Our school's math scores have gone from below the district and state average to above the district and state average. Historically about 45% of the 7th graders at Elk Ridge have been proficient, since implementing this curriculum and teaching methods about 65% of them are proficient. 8th graders have seen similar improvement, going from 40% proficient to 55% proficient. There are many factors to this success, but "guaranteed and viable curriculum" and "effective teaching in every classroom" have certainly helped. We had hoped to see scores improve for 9th grade as these students progressed through our program, but the coronavirus made testing data impossible to collect during 2020 and 2021.

In addition to the materials that have been used at Elk Ridge Middle School for the last several years for 7th through 9th grade, there are also notes and videos explaining topics from algebra 2 through calculus available on this website. The high school and college material is not as polished as the middle school material, but it has been used by many students and even instructors in their classes.

The high school courses differ from the middle school courses in two main ways:

1) The videos were recorded during live lectures with a live class. This has advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage is that the videos have the familiar pace of an in-person class and there are students who ask questions as I explain. I've found that the questions and natural pauses in these videos give students time to think just as if they were in class. The obvious disadvantage to the videos is they are long, but not much longer than if I had recorded them by myself as fast as I could...the more difficult the concepts, the longer the explanation.

2) The high school and college courses were taught with textbooks, so if you want to do the assignments you'll need to buy a used textbook on ebay or Amazon. There is information on each course homepage to let you know what book was used for the course along with a homework list.

My goal in making this material available to the public (and the math education community) is for it to be essentially "plug-n-play". It is by no means perfect...no curriculum, textbook, or method is, but anyone who knows a little bit about math should be able to watch the lessons and be able to learn (or help someone learn) math. Feel free to print the notes, show the YouTube videos, and use the practice assignments. Better yet, if you're a teacher, take the material, improve it, and make it your own. All of the PDFs are free to use, however, if you would like copies of the fully editable Word files, please contact me: mathlawes71@gmail.com

Personal:

  • I was born in Massachusetts, but moved to Idaho when I was 3.

  • After graduating from high school I moved to Utah to go to college.

  • I live in South Jordan, Utah and I have a wonderful wife and three outstanding children.

  • I enjoy traveling, working, scuba diving, flying remote control helicopters, airplanes, and drones.

  • I also love English Bulldogs, and, of course...MATH!


Email: mathlawes71@gmail.com

Informal Curriculum Vitae:

• National Board Certified Teacher (Adolescent and Young Adult Mathematics 2019)

• MS in math, MAED in school counseling, BS in math

Utah State Board of Education endorsed Instructional Coach

Utah State Board of Education endorsed Teacher Mentor

Currently teaching at Elk Ridge Middle School and SouthPointe Adult High School

• Level 4 math certification and school counselor license (Utah State Board of Education)

• 25 years of teaching experience (5 years Crescent View Middle, 7 years Bingham High, 7 years Itineris Early College High, 6 years Elk Ridge Middle)

• 12 years of experience teaching college math as concurrent enrollment (CE) and adjunct faculty (SLCC)

• 97% pass rate for students taking AP Calculus BC exam at Bingham High from 2002 to 2005 with 67% of the passing scores being 5's

• Taught math courses ranging from 7th grade special education through college calculus and statistics

• Extensive website with access to guided notes, lesson videos, and assignments

• Over 800 instructional math videos on YouTube

• Multiple teacher of the year awards

• Published article in national teaching magazine (“Graphing Polar Curves” - Mathematics Teacher - 2013)

• Published thesis (comparison of adjunct, full-time, and CE teaching results) and presented at multiple conferences

• Utilized flipped classroom for middle school, high school, and college courses

• Served as department chair at two schools

• Served on various school and district committees

• Lead instructional coach

• Mentor teacher

• Taught approximately 750 students how to solve a Rubik’s cube and had TV coverage of results (see below)

• Student and parent evaluations have always been well above average at both the secondary and college level

• Upon returning to middle school, I volunteered to teach low level math classes

• Developed curriculum, peer tutor program, adult mentoring, and online access to instructional material to help support learners

• I have a rescue English bulldog named Munch (pictures below)


Notable Press:

KSL- Solving Rubik's Cubes

Jordan District Grant Video

Fox 13 Cool School of the Week

Rubik's Cube Mosaics (Positively Utah)

Rubik's Cube Mosaics (Thursday Report)


Favorite Sayings:

If you do something for someone that they could have and should have done for themselves, you haven't helped them, you've hurt them. - JB Washburn

The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.- Henry Ford


Family and Travels:

You'll find some pictures and videos of my family and some of our travels below.

ICELAND 2019 EUROPE 2017

SAN DIEGO KELP DIVE 2019 Wreck & Reef Dive

Sea Turtles at Le Blanc Swimming with Whale Sharks

Underwater Museum & Reef Dive Chunk: "The Movie"

Cozumel Diving 3-2021 Cozumel Night Dive 6-2021

Aerobatics in a Pitts Bi-Plane

The Family (2019)

The Family (2011)

From 1 to 49

National Board Certified Teacher Day at the Capitol (2020)

To Kill A Mockingbird in NYC (2020)

Cancun (2019)- Wreck Dive

Cancun (2019)- Whale Shark

Iceland (2019)- Silfra Fissure

Iceland (2019)- Northern Lights

Hamilton in NYC - Original Cast! (2017)

NYC- 2nd biggest snow storm of all time (2017)

Total Solar Eclipse (2016)

Cincinnati Zoo- Fiona the Premature Hippo (2018)

"Tankerbelle" (RIP 2016)

"Chunk" (Rescue- RIP 2020)

"Munch" (Rescue)

"Hoosier" Gym- Indiana (2018)

Indianapolis Speedway (2018)

St. Louis (2009)

Boston (2008)

Yosemite (2010)

Snoqualmie Falls (2009)

Zipline in Ketchikan, Alaska (2009)

Hubbard Glacier, Alaska (2009)

Chicago (2005)

Yosemite (2010)

Salt Lake City (2013)

Sunset at Petco Park in San Diego (2019)

Open cockpit Waco Biplane ride at Boeing Field in Seattle (2009)

Seattle (2009)

Oahu (2005)

Spruce Goose Cockpit, McMinnville, OR. (2013)

Alaska (2014)

Observatory at the top of Mauna Kea (2011)

"Open Door" helicopter ride over Kilauea volcano (2011)

New York City (2012)

Brooklyn Bridge (2013)

Washington D.C. (2008)

Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum (2008)

Salt Lake City (2014)- B-29 Superfortress

Warriors over the Wasatch (P-51 and F-35) (2016)

B-29 Superfortress & C-17 Globemaster (2014)

Yukon, Canada (2015)

Sequoia National Park (2009)

I have about twenty remote control aircraft that I fly. I've equipped some of them with LED lights so I can fly them at night.

My favorite is a T-Rex 550E 3G. Click HERE to see a T-Rex 500 in action. HERE's a link to some on board video from the same flight