The Math Learning Center is committed to offering free tools, materials, and other programs in support of our mission to inspire and enable individuals to discover and develop their mathematical confidence and ability.
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 district.
We’ve all been through it before. We spend months teaching our students mathematical content and over time, we start to see them making progress. And then all of a sudden winter break sneaks up, seemingly out of nowhere.
Our curriculum specialists recently attended a workshop with Jo Boaler, Cathy Williams, and their youcubed team. We left energized by three key messages and affirmed by recognizing how The Math Learning Center addresses them.
The 3Rs—Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic—have been foundational in education for thousands of years. My recent book, The Fourth R, adds to that list Reasoning/computational thinking. It concerns using human brains and computer brains, individually and working together, to solve problems and accomplish thoughts. Like each of the traditional 3Rs, computational thinking is both a discipline of study and a fundamental cognitive tool.
We’ve all had those conversations in which someone laments that math isn’t taught the same way it was “in the good ole days.” Our understanding of best practices in mathematics has changed, and change can be difficult for everyone.
Children need lots of practice, with various activities in different settings, to develop a strong sense of number. My kindergartners love an activity I call Estimation Bag. I place a small plastic container inside a canvas bag, and a student adds a single type of object: paperclips, pennies, barrettes, etc. We start with 10 or fewer and increase the quantity to between 10 and 20 after a month or so.
Bridges students learn more than one way to solve multi-digit multiplication expressions. This enables them to select the strategy that is most efficient for any given problem. In addition to the standard algorithm that many of us were taught, fifth graders also investigate:
The array model, used throughout Bridges, is the subject of “Arrays, Multiplication and Division” by Jennie Pennant from nrich.maths.org. The piece outlines how the array model supports development of a sense of multiplicative relationships and describes how to move students from building multiplication facts and tables to exploring division as the inverse operation of multiplication.