The Math for Love Curriculum

We’ve crafted a play-based, mathematically rigorous curriculum that’s already helped thousands of students find deeper engagement, joy, and success in mathematics.

Perfect as a supplement or intervention, the Math for Love curriculum spans K – 5 and more, with a high school supplement and fraction guide for 3rd grade.

The Vision

We created the original curriculum to combine play and rigor, with six weeks of material for three different grade bands: Kindergarten, 1st/2nd Grade, and 3rd/4th Grade. Seattle Public Schools adopted this curriculum for their Summer Staircase program in 2016, where it was used by close to 60 teachers and 2000 students.

Our target is the students who fall through the cracks: kids behind grade level, English-language learners, and possibly those who have started to associate school—and especially math—as a place they want nothing to do with.

In addition, we knew we’d have a huge range of students showing up, including those who already liked math and were good at it. This meant the lessons are differentiated for a wide range of ability and knowledge levels. We trained the teachers to run stations, with options for challenges and scaffolding built in. Number Talks and games are emphasized throughout, with opportunities for doing math, thinking math, and loving math at the center of the class.

POSITIVE, and get them excited about coming to school, even during the summer

Our Goal

was to craft an experience for them that would be:

PRODUCTIVE, helping them step up toward, to, or beyond grade level

PLAYFUL, to help them bring their autonomy and creativity to mathematics, and truly own the subject.

The Results

We hired an independent researcher to help us collect, collate, and parse data from the program. Her report is now available here. Here are some highlights:

Conceptual Understanding Increased.

Our researcher sorted data on the students into different profiles, based on teacher evaluations of their conceptual knowledge of relevant math standards. The low profile range represented students who were falling far behind in math, and in danger of not recovering. The medium profile represented students were below grade level, but in a less critical situation. The high ranges represented students who were at or above grade level, or nearly there.By the end of the 6-week Summer Staircase intervention, the number of students in the high profile ranges had more than doubled, while the number in the low profile ranges was more than cut in half.

Math Fluency Increased.

The Summer Staircase students also took a pre- and post-assessment to gauge their growth in math fluency. While a number of the Summer Staircase students entered the program with a 90% or above on the pre-assessment, we decided to take a closer look at the students with a score of below 90%. This group saw an average fluency score increase of 17 percentage points, from an average score of 58% on the pre-assessment to 75% on the post assessment. (That 17 point rise represents at 30% increase in fluency scores.)

Teachers saw their students grow, and deepened their own practice

In surveys of teachers following the program in 2016

The students who scored low on the pretest, improved their posttest scores. Students who scored high on both the pretest and posttest were excellent team players in the Math game activities that kept their understanding of math concepts, and helped the other in the group who needed extra time.

Roxanna B., Participating Teacher

I really appreciated the design. It was so user-friendly and I loved that it included prompting questions. I felt like I could rely on the curriculum for a very strong plan every day.

Amelia S., Participating Teacher

Highly engaging and fun. Students were actively working the whole time. Partner and group work was very engaging and meaningful.

Leslie S., Participating Teacher

I saw children: gain confidence with the meaning of multiplication and division; increase fact fluency; children who had been confused begin to want to offer ideas in whole class math conversations; children who had struggled with certain things begin to teach others

Ellen K., Participating Teacher

The kids were so happy and had fun, and LOVED telling me how they figured something out… I know that the kids will return to school with a greater acceptance of math, and without that, “I hate math,” attitude.

Amanda P., Site Leader

Would you recommend the Math for Love Curriculum to other schools or district?

Read just the report summary here, or read the full report here.

Contact Us

We’re thrilled at the results so far, and deeply hopeful that the power a play-based, deeply engaging, thinking math curriculum could have on students everywhere.

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