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About Everyday Mathematics


Everyday Mathematics Book


Research & Development

Everyday Mathematics is a research-based curriculum developed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project. 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.

Development of Everyday Mathematics began with a research phase. During this phase, the authors of the curriculum reviewed a rich body of existing research on children's mathematical thinking and on curriculum and instruction. They also interviewed hundreds of K-3 children and surveyed instructional practices in other countries. Based on their findings, the authors established several basic principles that have guided the development of Everyday Mathematics. These principles are:

  • 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.

With these principles in mind, the Everyday Mathematics author team began developing the curriculum. Starting with kindergarten, Everyday Mathematics was developed one grade level at a time. Each grade level went through a three-year development cycle that included one year of writing, a year of extensive field testing in a cross section of actual classrooms, and a year of revising before final publication. All seven grade levels were written by the same core of authors, in collaboration with a team of mathematicians, education specialists and classroom teachers. This unique development process has resulted in a comprehensive K-6 curriculum that provides a consistent high quality, and a sequence of instruction that carefully builds upon and extends the knowledge and skills of the previous year.

For more information on research associated with Everyday Mathematics, click HERE.


Scope & Sequence

Developments over the past 20 years have led to a tremendous increase in the importance of mathematics in a growing number of occupations, and in daily life. As a result, the goal of achieving mathematical literacy for all citizens has become a national priority. By today's definition, mathematical literacy means that adults need to have a range of sophisticated mathematical knowledge and skills that extends far beyond basic calculation skills.

The authors of Everyday Mathematics believe that it is crucial to begin laying the groundwork for mathematical literacy at an earlier age than offered in traditional programs. Based on their own research, and other supporting research, the authors also firmly believe that children are capable of learning a great deal more than previously expected. For this reason the scope of the K-6 Everyday Mathematics curriculum includes the following mathematical strands:

  • Algebra and Uses of Variables
  • Data and Chance
  • Geometry and Spatial Sense
  • Measures and Measurement
  • Numeration and Order
  • Patterns, Functions, and Sequences
  • Operations
  • Reference Frames

By developing the curriculum one grade level at a time, the authors were able to carefully map out a sequence of instruction that interweaves concepts from each of these content strands throughout the curriculum. 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. For summaries of content by grade level, select below:

Content By Grade Level

K 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th


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

    For grades 1-3, daily Home Links 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

  • No Calculator SymbolAppropriate 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.

"Calculator use has been shown to enhance cognitive gains in areas that include number sense, conceptual development, and visualization. Such gains can empower and motivate all teachers and students to engage in richer problem-solving activities."

NCTM Position Statement


Everyday Mathematics Development Team

Everyday Mathematics is the result of a rich collaboration between the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project author team, distinguished mathematicians, education specialists, teachers-in-residence, and hundreds of classroom teachers.

The UCSMP Everyday Mathematics team includes:


Max Bell, Director 1st Edition

Jean Bell

John Bretzlauf

Amy Dillard

Robert Hartfield

Andy Isaacs**

James McBride, Director 2nd Edition

Kathleen Pitvorec

Peter Saecker

Robert Balfanz*

William Carroll*

Sheila Sconiers*

Technical Art

Diana Barrie


*First Edition Only

**Second Edition Only

Each of the hundreds of field test teachers from a cross-section of schools nationwide also made an invaluable contribution to the development of Everyday Mathematics.


The Publisher of Everyday Mathematics

Everyday Mathematics is published by Wright Group/McGraw-Hill. The company employs a complete development, marketing, teacher education, sales, and customer service staff to support Everyday Mathematics. This permanent staff is augmented by over 400 teacher consultants who provide training. More information about Wright Group/McGraw-Hill is available at www.wrightgroup.com or at 1-800-382-7670.

Web site copyright © 2003 UCSMP


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