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The Math Learning Center Blog

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At the Math Learning Center, we believe that all students can make sense of mathematics. Some students just need more time, more opportunities, and more support than others. Our approach emphasizes problem solving, the use of faithful visual models, and a focus on developing fluency. In March 2021, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and the What Works Clearinghouse released a new version of...
Nicole Rigelman, Chief Academic Officer
Within the math education community, a lot of confusion surrounds the word fluency. Yet Common Core State Standards call for fluency at each grade level. Grades 2 and 3 standards specify that students know a standard “from memory,” phrasing which may further cloud our concept of fluency. In the Ignite Talk “There IS a Difference,” K-5 math educator Graham Fletcher explains the subtle yet powerful...
Cynthia Hockman-Chupp
The number rack helps build the bridge from counting to computational fluency by inviting students to think about numbers in groups of 2, 5, and 10. Its 2 rows of 5 red and 5 white movable beads allow students to see and slide beads in groups rather than 1 by 1. Just as we want students to move from sounding out words letter by letter to reading morphemes and whole words, we want students to move...
Shelly Scheafer
Now more than ever, families are looking for ways to support their students’ mathematics education. They may not know where to start—the Bridges in Mathematics approach might appear a bit different from the way they were taught math. How can Bridges educators offer families a chance to see what a Bridges classroom looks like? How can they offer ideas and options for fostering their students’ math...
Mike Wallus, Vice President for Educator Support
Manistee Area Public Schools’ board approved a purchase of Bridges in Mathematics after lead teachers visited Montague Area Public Schools as well as Godfrey-Lee Schools in Wyoming to see Bridges in implementation. “Through those visits, those lead teachers really felt like we needed to move forward in this direction and they shared that with their colleagues,” said MAPS curriculum director Amber...
Students in the State College Area School District (SCASD) are exploring math in a fun, new way since adopting Bridges in Mathematics for the 2018–19 school year. But it’s not just fun and games—learning is happening too. On average, student test scores are up by 10% compared with any year since 2011. “We’re really pumped up,” Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education Vern Bock says. “What...
Collin Nelson
SEG Measurement, an independent third-party research firm, recently conducted a study of the effectiveness of Bridges in Mathematics using data from the 2015–16 and 2016–17 school years. Approximately 1,000 students from over 40 classrooms participated in the study. Students who used Bridges were statistically matched with students using another elementary mathematics curriculum in a different...
Collin Nelson
The Learning to Think Mathematically series, written by Dr. Jeff Frykholm, is now available free from The Math Learning Center. These insightful books provide families and educators with innovative resources and novel strategies to help young learners develop powerful mathematical insights and problem-solving strategies. The premise underlying the Learning to Think Mathematically series is that...
Collin Nelson
Last year we added Math and the Mind’s Eye to our collection of free resources. Math and the Mind’s Eye is a supplemental program based on visual models that can be taught in sequence or used as individual lessons. The 14 units that make up this program cover math concepts typically taught in middle school but extend into upper and lower grade levels as well. To round out our secondary offerings...
Collin Nelson