There are lots of elementary math programs out there, but the Bridges math curriculum is part of the select few that reach the highest ratings of the EdReport. In comparison to other programs’ effect size of +0.15, its effectiveness is clearly shown in a study by Alan Cheung and Robert Slavin, where they found that the Bridges math curriculum resulted in an effect size of +0.19 in Grade 4 students.
Adopted by numerous schools around the world, the Bridges math curriculum circumvents the issue of outdated math teaching strategies by focusing on these three strategies:
1) Promotes Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
SEL is cultivated through the Bridges math curriculum, as communication is a key component towards improving a child’s learning experience.
Students under the curriculum are encouraged to work collaboratively in finding solutions to math problems. As the Bridges math curriculum creates a reliable learning environment, students feel more comfortable with the idea of being wrong during class. This is because there is always someone there (teacher or classmate) to help them find the right answer.
The Bridges math curriculum then motivates children to have, share and accept different ideas, promoting SEL as students understand and respect each other’s opinions.
2) Students can discover multiple solutions to one problem
The Bridges math curriculum strays away from traditional teaching methods and underscores a student’s ability to find multiple solutions, promoting critical thinking and creativity through its dynamic visual models.
In other comprehensive math learning programs, they typically follow the “I do it, We do it, You do it” method, where the students simply memorize one solution to a type of problem, applying that solution repeatedly without truly understanding why/how it works. With the Bridges math curriculum, students discover different ways to solve a problem.
This boosts their critical thinking skills and creativity, as they work hard to figure out which solution works best for their understanding.
3) Students are ultimately in charge of their learning experience
Under this math curriculum, the teacher doesn’t simply show the solutions – they guide the students to the answer and encourage them to become independent learners.
Through leading relevant and substantial discussions, the teacher draws out the thought process of their students, leading them to discover solutions on their own. The students themselves are not confined to a desk the whole class – they are free to talk and move around the classroom to engage in their learning as they test their own conjectures.
With such autonomy on their learning experience, elementary students feel more at ease with math, developing a passion and genuine interest in the subject.
Through the Bridges Math Curriculum, students will find themselves fascinated by math as they eagerly discover its concepts in ways they enjoy. Soon enough, children will leave the thoughts like “Math is too hard” or “Math isn’t for me” behind, instead forming a generation that feels empowered by math and its relevant skills.
What you need to know about Bridges in Mathematics – mathlearningcenter.org
Bridges in Mathematics – mathlearningcenter.org
Bridges In Mathematics (2015) – edreports.org
Study Shows Bridges Students Perform Well – mathlearningcenter.org
Popular K-6 Math Curriculum Deemed Unaligned to Common Core – blogs.edweek.org