Math Learning Center Blog | Math Learning Center | MLC

The Math Learning Center Blog

A large dog and a small dog. When the small dog sits on the table, the two dogs are the same height. When the large dog sits on the table, it is 100 inches "taller" than the small dog. What do you wonder?
Patrick Vennebush, Chief Learning Officer

2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). Due to the impacts of COVID-19, NCTM decided to cancel its Centennial Annual Meeting and Exposition, which was to be held April 1–4 in Chicago. Instead, NCTM is celebrating the centennial year and supporting the math community by presenting virtual learning activities. Dubbed 100 Days of Professional Learning, these 100 free webinars are being held on select days from April through October.

I was honored when Mike Shaughnessy, a past president of NCTM and a former employee of MLC, asked if I’d present my session in Chicago. When that couldn’t happen, I was happy to have the opportunity to deliver “100 Problems Involving the Number 100” as one of the virtual webinars.

Image of the Number Pieces App with 2 × 11
Tod Johnston & Kellie Petrick

Physical manipulatives are locked away in classrooms, so teachers, students, and families are turning to The Math Learning Center apps to support understanding of visual mathematics in a remote learning environment. Usage of these free virtual manipulatives and models has tripled over the last six weeks.

On Friday, May 1, more than 500 educators attended an MLC webinar on how the apps can be used to enrich learning. Participants became familiar with the apps by exploring a series of hands-on activities. Notably, participants learned how to produce share codes, eight-character codes that can be used to share a particular problem or activity within an app. Share codes were used with the Number Piece app to show how students might share ideas with their teacher.

Weren’t able to attend the webinar? Check out the recording.

Patrick Vennebush, Chief Learning Officer

UPDATE (4/1/20): We have created Math at Home resources by grade level (PK-5) to help educators, students, and families with this sudden shift to home learning.


In recent days, we’ve had a number of conversations with Bridges educators who are preparing for the possibility of school closures due to the COVID-19 virus. These closures would obviously present a major disruption for educators, parents, and students. While remote learning is not ideal for elementary students, it may be necessary in some areas. To support educators in these trying circumstances, we put together some ideas and recommendations.

Margaret Borden - Bridges Kindergarten Teacher

Although there are no specific lessons in Bridges that address the 100th day of school, it is a big day in kindergarten.

Justin Fogarty, VP Communications

Lake Forest School District in Illinois adopted Bridges in 2013. Teachers credit Bridges with helping them teach valuable life skills such as communication, critical thinking, problem solving, and positive student interaction. Additional significant changes include students’ increased risk taking and recognition that there is more than one answer and strategy to a problem. Bridges is designed to foster skills like these that develop the whole student, preparing them for life.

Justin Fogarty, VP Communications

DeSoto Parish School System in Louisiana adopted Bridges in 2013. With Bridges, educators and district leaders alike have witnessed the transformation of classroom environments. Students are engaged, working together, checking one another’s work and truly understanding concepts. Bridges is engaging students in math and teaching them to become creative problem solvers.

Justin Fogarty, VP Communications

The Leander Independent School District in Leander, Texas, adopted Bridges in Mathematics in 2014. With Bridges, Leander students’ confidence in math is growing as they learn multiple strategies for problem solving. Teachers have seen improvement in students’ mathematical thinking, communication, and academic confidence that carries into other subject matters. As one educator put it, “Most importantly, we’ve seen an increase in students loving math.”

“We’re preparing kids to apply these bits of information to new situations instead of asking them to memorize the dictionary of math. That really allows them to be creative with their math and apply it to situations we can’t even think of yet," said Justin Brown, fourth grade teacher at Rutledge Elementary School.