Math Curriculum

Math Curriculum K-5

Everyday Mathematics

Everyday Mathematics is a comprehensive Pre-K through 6th grade mathematics curriculum developed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project. It is currently being used in over 185,000 classrooms by almost 3,000,000 students.

Curriculum Features

There are a number of features that distinguish the Everyday Mathematics curriculum. These include:

Real-life Problem Solving

Everyday Mathematics emphasizes the application of mathematics to real world situations. Numbers, skills and mathematical concepts are not presented in isolation, but are linked to situations and contexts that are relevant to everyday lives. The curriculum also provides numerous suggestions for incorporating mathematics into daily classroom routines and other subject areas.

Balanced Instruction

Each Everyday Mathematics lesson includes time for whole-group instruction as well as small group, partner, or individual activities. These activities balance teacher-directed instruction with opportunities for open-ended, hands-on explorations, long-term projects and on-going practice.

Multiple Methods for Basic Skills Practice

Everyday Mathematics provides numerous methods for basic skills practice and review. These include written and choral fact drills, mental math routines, practice with fact triangles (flash cards of fact families), daily sets of review problems called Math Boxes, homework, timed tests and a wide variety of math games.

Emphasis on Communication

Throughout the Everyday Mathematics curriculum students are encouraged to explain and discuss their mathematical thinking, in their own words. Opportunities to verbalize their thoughts and strategies give children the chance to clarify their thinking and gain insights from others.

Enhanced Home/School Partnerships

Daily Home Links (Grades K to 3) and Study Links (Grades 4-6) provide opportunities for family members to participate in the students' mathematical learning. Study Links are provided for most lessons in grades 4-6, and all grades include periodic letters to help keep parents informed about their children's experience with Everyday Mathematics

Appropriate Use of Technology

Everyday Mathematics teaches students how to use technology appropriately. The curriculum includes many activities in which learning is extended and enhanced through the use of calculators. At the same time, all activities intended to reinforce basic computation skills are clearly marked with a "no calculator" sign:

Underlying the EM curriculum are six strands of knowledge: Algebra; Data and Chance; Geometry; Measurement; Numeration and Order; Patterns, Functions, and Sequences; Operations; and Reference Frames. At each grade level, learning targets are identified for each of the six strands.

During the 1980s, a consensus emerged about how best to teach mathematics to children. The NCTM Standards (1989) expressed that consensus. Everyday Mathematics is based largely on the same body of research that led to the Standards consensus.

Everyday Mathematics has been the subject of numerous studies, and the data is overwhelmingly positive, and it received the highest rating of any published curriculum reviewed by the Department of Education's What Works Clearinghouse.


The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) looked at elementary school math curricula designed to promote math knowledge and skills among elementary school students (average ages 5 to 10 years). Because there is some variation in how elemen­tary school is organized across school districts, this review defined elementary school as a school with any of the grades, K through 5. Curricula included in this review are replicable, materials-based instructional programs that cover one or more of the following content areas: numbers, arithmetic, geometry, pre-algebra, measurement, graphing, and logical reasoning. This review considered only core, comprehensive math curricula. Core math curricula are defined as instructional programs that extend over the course of one semester or more, are central to students’ regular school instruction, and are based on any combination of text materials, manipulatives, computer software, videotapes, and other materials. This review focuses on student achievement in mathematics as the key outcome.

The findings in this topic report summarize the first wave of WWC elementary school math intervention reports produced in 2006–07. We looked at 340 studies. Of these, 237 were assess­ments of interventions that qualified for our review; the other 103 could not be categorized by intervention.3 Of the 237 studies, 9 studies of 5 curricula met our evidence standards, 2 without res­ervations and 7 with reservations. Altogether, the WWC looked at 73 interventions: 5 had studies that met WWC standards with or without reservations, 67 had studies that did not meet WWC evidence screens, and 1 had a single-case study, which is still under review. (The identification of eligible programs ended in September 2005, and that of eligible studies, in July 2006.) In looking at the one outcome domain for the five elementary school math curricula:

Everyday Mathematics had potentially positive effects on math achievement.

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