Real talk: For most of us, math elicits negative emotions – I’m talking break-out-in-sweat or washed-over-with-inadequacy-level negative. Too many rules to memorize, too little time to remember them before the quiz is over. It wasn’t that long ago that Barbie was programmed to complain about how hard math is. And many adults will still say, shruggingly, that they’re just not math people.
And yet research shows that math — and especially math for younger children — is a clear path to opportunity. As individuals, a strong grasp of math concepts at an early age is not only a foundational building block and gateway to STEM learning, it’s also a major predictor of success later in school and at work. For those reasons and more, all students need to experience effective math learning. Reams of data and everyday experience confirm that teachers are the key for unlocking that opportunity.
Which begs the question: How do we support pre-K to 5th-grade teachers to enable joyful and authentic math learning for all students, especially girls, students from often-marginalized racial and ethnic backgrounds, and students from rural and low-income homes and communities?
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