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IMGALTTAG Volume IV: Looking at Everyday Mathematics


Everyday Math: What is it and how does it work?
Cecelia Armstead

Due to consistent low scores on standardized test particularly in the area of math, Pittsburgh School officials realized a need for change in the math curriculum. As a result, the University of Chicago’s Everyday Math curriculum was adopted.  Since its inception there has been much controversy as to the effectiveness of this program. This paper will focus on how the Everyday Math program works and variables affecting the program. Focus will also be on how a particular concept progresses through the elementary years and how it relates at the high school level. Sources were obtained from both written research and much seminar discussion.


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Exploring Geometry through the Everyday Mathematics Curriculum
Roseann Y. Casciato

Throughout the seminar, Looking at Everyday Mathematics, I was given the opportunity to examine how students in grades K – 5 are learning mathematics today. Everyday Mathematics was developed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP). “UCSMP was founded in 1983 during a time of growing consensus that our nation was failing to provide its students with an adequate mathematical education. The goal of this on-going project is to significantly improve the mathematics curriculum and instruction for all school children in the U.S.” (About Everyday Mathematics). “Everyday Mathematics is a spiraling curriculum that provides repeated exposures to concepts, skills, and procedures in a variety of different contexts” (Bell et al., First Grade 284). Everyday Mathematics emphasizes problem solving, reading, real world applications, and the use of calculators and computers. Each year students revisit concepts that were previously taught, therefore, providing a comfort level with the topic and making the topic less intimidating. The following paper contains an analysis of geometry and how it is taught to students in grades K – 5.


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The Development of Statistics and Data Analysis in Grades K-5
Maureen Ellis
Mifflin Elementary School

In our ever-changing society decisions to be made using data, probability, and statistics are appearing at an increasing pace. A well-informed adult needs to know how to interpret data and make correct choices.

The purpose of this project is to present an overview of ideas taught and classroom activities presented as to develop the concepts of statistics and data analysis in the Everyday Mathematics Curriculum. From the strand of exploring data in kindergarten to data collection, analysis and chance in fifth grade, the children build on previously taught material to gain a better understanding of the concepts. Children learn how to gather data but also need to understand what to do with that data in order to make conclusions. The philosophy of the Everyday Math Program helps children work as partners and in small groups to share their thinking and ideas with peers. Establishing links between past experiences and explorations of new concepts, sharing ideas through instruction by building on each others’ findings, cooperative learning, practice through games, and using daily routines are all part of what makes this program successful.

This topic, statistics and data analysis, teaches students to analyze data, make good judgments, be skeptical and ask questions, and be informed consumers in adult life.


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Games - Are Students Learning or Just Having Fun?
Tawnya Ford

The Everyday Mathematics Program uses games as a motivational way for students to learn. The program takes the mathematical concepts students should know and incorporates them into games, so that the students could enjoy learning. The games are used as a way for students to practice skills teachers present in the classroom in a way that is not tedious and boring. The teachers could continually teach new concepts and use the games to practice previous skills. The students could also play the games at home. Many of the games that the Everyday Mathematics Program would use include material students have at home, which makes it more convenient.  They would also be able to share their learning experience with others at home. The program states that the games are not used so that the students are in continual competition, but they are a way for students to practice skills without the typical paper and pencil. They are not to be used as time-killers or rewards. The games are simply a way for students, grades K through 5, to learn basic skills with excitement and be ready to conquer additional learning obstacles as they travel through their learning experience. This unit is designed for teachers to see how games may and may not work in the classroom, and give a quick reference of games for teachers to use when students are struggling with basic skills needed to succeed in middle school.


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Tracing the Development of “Fact Power” in Everyday Mathematics: grades 1–5
Susan Juffe

I am using this project as an opportunity to research how Everyday Mathematics introduces, teaches, and reinforces the learning of basic math facts. By going through the Everyday Mathematics curriculum, grades 1-5, I familiarized myself with the lessons, games, and activities my students “should” have been exposed to in the past and will encounter in the future. By knowing what material my students have had, I will be able to go back and fill in the holes of what they have missed, need to review or relearn in order to progress to the next level. My goal was to develop a reference guide for teaching students “Fact Power.”


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Operations and Everyday Mathematics
Vita Nemirovsky

The focus of this paper is to analyze Everyday Mathematics’ position and philosophy on operations with whole numbers in the area of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division in grade levels kindergarten through fifth grade. Basic mathematical operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers are the foundation of mathematics. Without having a strong and automatic grasp of the above concepts other areas in mathematics are not only difficult, but almost impossible to understand. Activities that are presented at each grade level in relation to operations of whole numbers will be presented and discussed. This project will connect how each grade level supports, facilitates, and progresses the learning of mathematical operations with whole numbers among the grade levels K-5.


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An Analysis of the Development of Data and Chance in Everyday Mathematics Plus an Enrichment and Acceleration Probability Unit
By Phyllis Ochs
Pittsburgh Gifted Center

The purpose of this unit is to examine how the curriculum known as Everyday Mathematics develops the content topics of data and chance from Kindergarten through Fifth Grade. I first discuss what a standards based curriculum is. I tell about general opinion and research that is related to Everyday Mathematics. I tell about the philosophy of Everyday Mathematics as defined by the authors. I give a grade-by-grade account of how data and chance are developed.

I also provide an enrichment and acceleration unit for probability that could be used with Everyday Mathematics in a program for the gifted and talented. Chance is not developed as fully in Everyday Mathematics as data is and therefore it would be appropriate to supplement probability. In the unit, students conduct many experiments to gain an understanding of Pascal’s triangle, fair and unfair games, theoretical versus experimental probability, and the difference between games of chance and games of skill.


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Manipulating Math With Games
By Elizabeth Pascarella
Roosevelt Elementary

This unit was developed to give classroom teachers a quick look at some of the games from the Everyday Math Curriculum. It is a small sample of the games that were most effective in my classroom of third grade learning support students. The purpose of this unit is to demonstrate the importance of the use of games as a curriculum supplement. Through games, the students practice not only their math skills, but their social skills as well. Games provide reinforcement and additional practice of a skill without the tedium of worksheets. Games also increase speed and accuracy of basic addition and subtraction skills. The mastery of these skills enable the student to build upon the foundation of all basic math concepts. Through game playing, the students increase speed and accuracy, in turn increasing their confidence and motivation level. This unit will provide directions and master sheets needed for some of the games that were used by my students. It will show how playing games as part of the Every day Math Curriculum helped the students to increase their speed and accuracy when working on timed math tests provided in the curriculum.


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Looking at Everyday Mathematics: Exploring Data and Chance
By Linda Rose
Fulton Academy

This content analysis examines the development of data and chance in K-5 Everyday Mathematics. The analysis addresses the concepts/skills developed at each grade, the activities that promote this development, the progression of these concepts/skills across grade levels, and the relationship to national, state, and local standards for mathematics education.

Not merely a recitation of curricular material, this analysis provides suggestions for improvement and a limited comparison to the way that a more traditional mathematics curriculum treats data and chance.


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Multiplication and Division
Michael J. Schrenker

The importance of Mathematics in elementary school is important for the future of our country. Mathematics is incorporated into other school curriculums such as Social Studies and Science. Mathematics is a skill that children and adults can use for the rest of their lives. People think if they have a calculator to do the math for them, they will be able to solve any and all math problems that come before them. Calculators are great tools that can be useful in solving many problems, but if a child or an adult can not complete basic math problems such as addition, subtraction and multiplication or division there must be concerns. In this paper I will be focusing on how students in grades third, fifth, sixth and seventh learn how to work on multiplication and division functions.


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Exploring Everyday Mathematics Project
Cathy Schwartz

Adapting any mathematics curriculum for use in a multiage classroom is a challenge, but the curriculum development of Everyday Mathematics lends itself to successful possibility. Many of the curriculum’s components are open-ended in nature and lend themselves to adaptation to a multiage classroom, the components of math messages, math boxes, games and explorations especially. In this unit I have identified where the grade level content specifically correlates in lessons in both the previous and following grade levels at the 4th and 5th grade level with in the strand of numeration and order. The goal with this project was to determine the feasibility of leading single lessons of content to a multiage group and  map lesson plans accordingly through an opening year unit.

Although the curriculum is already in place for the 4th and 5th grade students in the Everyday Math series, my circumstances as a teacher of a mulitage classroom are unique. Rather than doing a critical analysis of the program, my work involved a content analysis of the Math concepts/skills introduced in fifth grade in the first part of the year, and in turn how they related to the 4th grade content. My goal being to start the year as a cohesive group with routines that were consistent across grade level and with instruction and practice that would establish a common mathematical language fundamentally around number theory. The idea of more than one age group experiencing the same activities but with varied degrees of comfort, understanding, and mastery is complimentary to the Montessori  philosophy. It is through the wisdom and experience of peers, guided exploration as well as formal instruction and practice that children learn. The variety of material available in the Everyday Math Program and the information available in its many resource books made it possible to put together a sound opening year unit for a multiage classroom.


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Fractions and Everyday Mathematics
J. Jay Slosky

Fractions are a basic building block in the foundation of mathematics. Students need a good understanding of the concept of fractions, in order to be comfortable performing operations with them as they move on to higher math. I have taught middle school for three years and I am currently in my ninth year teaching high school. I have observed my student’s struggle with the concept of fractional parts, in addition to basic operations with fractions such as simplifying, adding, and subtracting. I find it necessary to review or re-teach basic fraction skills in order to proceed with the objectives of my lessons. For this reason, I have chosen to follow the topic of fractions through the different grade levels of the Everyday Mathematics curriculum.

I am interested in learning how fractions are being taught in Everyday Math, and if there are major differences between the Everyday Math methods and the traditional ways that I was taught. I would ultimately like to apply the methods used in Everyday Math to my high school classes so that my students can relate to their prior knowledge base. Hopefully this will reduce the amount of “fraction anxiety” that my students repeatedly suffer from.


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Multiplication
Diane Williams

The unit I decided to research and give my opinion on is multiplication. The Everyday Math Curriculum touches on multiplication in grade levels 3-5; however, I felt that multiplication was spread to thin within the curriculum.

Emphasis should be placed not on just learning how to do multiplication, but on developing a complete understanding of the subject. Multiplication is an area in mathematics that should be mastered and not just touched upon.

The concepts/skills that need to be developed should be placed in one area in which our fellows or colleges or colleges could get more ideas and concepts to develop the necessary skill sets to master multiplication. The progressive skills/concepts and their relationships should have a step-by-step approach to ensure each child’s success now and in the future.


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Chatham University
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IMGALTTAG Pittsburgh Teachers Institute
Jointly sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University and the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
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