Elementary Component

Max Bell, Director

Materials Development

UCSMP began developing its elementary curriculum—now in the third edition—in the summer of 1985, working with teachers on the material that became Kindergarten Everyday Mathematics. By then, the need for richer curriculum resources had been made clear by the results of our studies of K—3 children in a broad range of schools. These results clearly showed that the early school mathematics experience in the United States ignores many of the actual capabilities of young children. At the same time, reports from international studies showed U.S. students learning much less mathematics in grades K—6 than students in many other countries.

Guiding Principles of the First Edition of Everyday Mathematics

Research with children and teachers led us to a number of principles for developing the Everyday Mathematics curriculum:

  • Students acquire knowledge and skills, and develop an understanding of mathematics from their own experience. Mathematics is more meaningful when it is rooted in real–life contexts and situations, and when children are given the opportunity to become actively involved in learning. Teachers and other adults play a very important role in providing children with rich and meaningful mathematical experiences.
  • Children begin school with more mathematical knowledge and intuition than previously believed. A K—6 curriculum should build on this intuitive and concrete foundation, gradually helping children gain an understanding of the abstract and symbolic.
  • Teachers, and their ability to provide excellent instruction, are the key factors in the success of any program. Previous efforts to reform mathematics instruction failed because they did not adequately consider the working lives of teachers.

Because very few people learn a new concept or skill the first time they experience it, the curriculum is structured to provide multiple exposures to topics, and frequent opportunities to review and practice skills. A concept or skill that is informally introduced in kindergarten, for example, will be revisited, developed and extended numerous times, and in a variety of contexts, throughout the year and into later grades.

Features of Everyday Mathematics Third Edition

The third edition of Everyday Mathematics remains true to the philosophy of the first two editions. The curriculum continues to draw on children's everyday experience. It recognizes the mathematical knowledge and intuition that even the youngest students bring to school and it includes the tools teachers need to foster mathematical learning in a problem-rich environment. The third editions build on this strong foundation and add major improvements.

Program Goals, Grade Level Goals

Teachers will find that 15 Program Goals, identical across all grades Pre-K through 6, have been defined. These goals are based on research, state and national standards, and the Everyday Mathematics authors' expertise. The goals articulate the mathematical content that Everyday Mathematics students are expected to master through the program. The Program Goals are:

Number and Numeration

  • Understand the meanings, uses, and representations of numbers
  • Understand equivalent names for numbers
  • Understand common numerical relations

Operations and Computation

  • Compute accurately
  • Make reasonable estimates
  • Understand meanings of operations

Data and Chance

  • Select and create appropriate graphical representations of collected or given data
  • Analyze and interpret data
  • Understand and apply basic concepts of probability

Measurement and Reference Frames

  • Understand the systems and process of measurement; use appropriate techniques, tools, units, and formulas in making measurements
  • Use and understand reference frames


  • Investigate characteristics and properties of two- and three- dimensional geometric shapes
  • Apply transformations and symmetry in geometric situations

Patterns, Functions, and Algebra

  • Understand patterns and functions
  • Use algebraic notation to represent and analyze situations and structures.

Teachers are given additional guidance through approximately 25 goals for each grade. These Grade-Level Goals are linked to the Program Goals and clarify what the Program Goals mean at each grade level. Students are expected to attain each Grade-Level Goal by the end of the corresponding grade. The third edition Grade-Level Goals define articulated learning trajectories for each Program Goal across the entire Pre-K through 6 curriculum.


The new edition of Everyday Mathematics provides additional support to teachers for diverse ranges of student ability. In Grades 1–6, a new grade-level-specific component, the Differentiation Handbook, explains the Everyday Mathematics approach to differentiation and provides a variety of resources. In addition, the Teacher's Lesson Guide now includes many new notes and suggestions that will help teachers differentiate instruction for diverse populations.

Every lesson summary includes a list of Key Concepts and Skills addressed in the lesson. This list highlights the range of mathematics in each lesson so that teachers can better use the materials to meet students' needs. The Key Concepts and Skills are linked to the Grade-Level Goals and Program Goals and thus clarify how lesson activities connect to and support Everyday Mathematics' long-term goals.

Lessons have been reorganized to include optional activities of four different types: Readiness, Enrichment, Extra Practice, and English Language Learner Support. Readiness activities are typical of Everyday Mathematics' approach to differentiation: rather than attempting to "fix" students after a lesson has not gone well, Readiness activities are designed to avoid problems before they arise by preparing students to overcome predictable difficulties.


The third edition, while retaining the basic approach to assessment found in earlier editions, has several significant improvements intended to make the process easier to understand and manage. All assessment opportunities in Everyday Mathematics, from Math Box problems to oral assessment suggestions, are now linked to Grade-Level Goals. One of the principal functions of the Grade-Level Goals, in fact, is to provide an organized, coherent framework for evaluating students' progress and achievement.

Ongoing Assessment opportunities have also increased, with at least one identified in each lesson in Grades 1–6. Every Grade 1–6 lesson also has a Recognizing Student Achievement note, identifying a task from the lesson, linking it to a Grade-Level Goal, and specifying the level of performance students should display. These provide daily opportunities to gather assessment data that can be used to track students' progress towards mastering the Grade-Level Goals. Ongoing assessment suggestions have also been increased in the Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten programs.

Finally, for the third editions, the Everyday Mathematics authors and McGraw-Hill Education (formerly Wright Group / McGraw Hill) have collaborated to create a new computerized Assessment Management System (AMS), an innovative system for storing, organizing, and reporting assessment information. The AMS represents a first step towards developing an even more comprehensive system that will collect data directly from students, track and analyze this data, and make informed suggestions for instructional interventions.

New Components

Along with the Differentiation Handbooks and Assessment Management System, several new components are available with the new edition of Everyday Mathematics.

  • iSRBs, computerized versions of the Student Reference Books, which include a read-aloud feature, hyperlinks, and animated examples.
  • My Reference Book, a reference book shared by Grades 1 and 2. Broadly similar to the Student Reference Books for Grades 3—6, My Reference Book is designed for beginning readers. (The Student Reference Books have also been enhanced, and now include several photo essays that highlight real-world applications of mathematics.)
  • Five-Minute Math, a new version of Minute Math specifically for Grades 4—6.

Enhanced Early Childhood Programs

The Kindergarten materials have been substantially revised for the third edition, and a new Pre-Kindergarten program has been created.

The structure of the Kindergarten program has been modified to make it more accessible to a wide range of Kindergarten teachers and programs, including both full- and half-day classrooms. The revisions were also aimed at making some important features, such as revisiting activities and opportunities for written work, more readily apparent. Many of the changes made for Grades 1–6 are also incorporated in the Kindergarten revisions, including the addition of Program Goals and Grade-Level Goals and increased suggestions for assessment and differentiation. Although the format and structural changes in third edition Kindergarten Everyday Mathematics are significant, it retains the overall spirit and content of the original Kindergarten program, presenting challenging mathematics through playful, hands-on activities that are appropriate for young children. In addition to the revised Teacher's Guide to Activities, the third edition Kindergarten program features many new or revised components, including:M.o<

  • My First Math Book, the Kindergarten version of the Student Math Journals in Grades 1–6.
  • Resources for the Kindergarten Classroom, which includes a range of supplemental resources and suggestions, including theme-based mathematics activities and lists of age-appropriate songs, rhymes, books, commercial games, and software that incorporate mathematics. This book also includes newsletter and family letter suggestions.
  • Kindergarten Minute Math which provides a wealth of activities for use as opportunities arise throughout the day.
  • Mathematics At Home Books, four take-home books with suggestions for fun, informal math activities families can do together.
  • Kindergarten Assessment Handbook, with guidance and suggestions for developmentally appropriate assessment of young children.
  • Early Childhood Teacher's Resource Manual, which is shared with the Pre-Kindergarten program.
  • Center Activity Cards, which describe and illustrate activities that can be used at classroom learning centers.

The Pre-Kindergarten program is designed to bring rich, appropriate mathematics into the early childhood classroom, and to help teachers find the math that is already there, embedded in children's interactions with adults, other children, materials, and their surroundings. The components of the Pre-Kindergarten program include the following:

  • Teacher's Guide to Activities, featuring two major sections: A Mathematics Around the Classroom section, which helps teachers promote, recognize, and respond to the mathematics that emerges from children's play and other common early childhood activities, and an Activities section, which provides 120 activities organized into eight mathematical topics, with three levels of difficulty within each topic.
  • Resources for the Pre-Kindergarten Classroom, which is similar to the Kindergarten Resource book, but includes suggestions specific to Pre-Kindergarten.
  • Pre-Kindergarten Minute Math.
  • Pre-Kindergarten Assessment Handbook.
  • Early Childhood Teacher's Resource Manual, which is shared with the Kindergarten program.
  • Sing Everyday!, a CD that features songs and chants that reinforce mathematical learning.

These Pre-Kindergarten materials were tested throughout 2004-05 and 2005-06 in a wide range of classrooms in urban and suburban areas. Field test sites included private and public schools and Head Start and State Pre-K programs, ensuring adaptability in a wide range of preschool contexts.

McGraw-Hill Education (formerly Wright Group / McGraw Hill)

The third editions of Everyday Mathematics are available from McGraw-Hill Education (formerly Wright Group / McGraw Hill). Third editions of the UCSMP Secondary Component materials are also available from this publisher.

Everyday Mathematics Center

The UCSMP Elementary Component hosts a web site and an email discussion group to support the implementation of Everyday Mathematics.


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