Curriculum Tools

Stanford Prof Unveils 'Inspiring' Math Curriculum

A professor at Stanford's Graduate School of Education has unveiled a new free math curriculum designed to help engage students more deeply in math.

Dubbed the "Week of Inspirational Math," the program is aimed at students in grades 5-9 and includes five lessons, one for each day in a week, featuring math problems designed to be fun and engaging along with videos with positive messages about math. Teachers using the curriculum will also be able to join a network offering additional support and resources throughout the school year.

"We want to give kids inspirational math tasks that help them see math as a lovely subject of beautiful patterns and deep inquiry," said Jo Boaler, the program's designer, in a prepared statement. "And we want teachers to see what happens when kids are really engaged in math."

Boaler said she hopes teachers will use the program at the beginning of the school year to give students a positive experience right off the bat and set the tone for the rest of the year, but the program can be used at any point.

"The lessons address five key areas of math: geometry, algebra, numbers, patterns and connections," according to a news release. "The problems are so-called 'low floor, high ceiling' tasks that are accessible to all students but can be solved in different ways to challenge those just being introduced to the topics as well as high achievers. They also emphasize different messages: Mistakes help you grow, for example, and it's not how fast you complete a task that's important but how deeply you understand it."

The Common Core-aligned program is the latest offering from YouCubed at Stanford, a program Boaler helped launch that aims to make new research into math learning accessible to teachers and parents.

"We're researching and using new brain science to find out how best people learn," said Boaler, in a prepared statement. "Then, we're giving teachers things they can actually do in their classroom based on this research."

The program will be available on YouCubed in May, but teachers interested can register to receive the Week of Inspirational math right now at youcubed.org.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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