Everyday Number Sense
Everyday Number Sense

Learning about numbers and operations needn't produce a class of yawning faces or tense handgrips on pencils, as you will discover when students tackle the engaging problems presented in Everyday Number Sense.

Students build upon their own robust strategies for adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing with problems involving:

  • Travel distances
  • Historical dates
  • Temperature fluctuations
  • Mortgage payments
  • Shopping questions
  • Calculator conundrums
  • Mathematical puzzles

However, the problems presented also strengthen students' number and operation sense by encouraging them to solve problems using mental math strategies such as estimating and adjusting, as well as grouping, visualizing, and decomposing numbers.

  • These strategies expose the structure of the number system in ways that lead to 'algebrafying' arithmetic and they help students more easily manage numbers.
  • Along the way students see how mathematical tools—number lines, arrays, diagrams, and calculators—can ease mathematical problem solving.

Everyday Number Sense focuses on the whole number benchmarks of 1, 10, 100, and 1,000 in a variety of world-life situations where mental math, estimation, and calculator skills prove useful. Multiple strategies are key.

  • The lessons guide students toward development of computational fluency, flexibility, and accuracy and an understanding of operation meanings.
  • Students come to understand the relationship between addition and subtraction as they count and compare quantities, and to understand the multiplication and division relationship in terms of equal group problems.
  • These unique lessons move students beyond the anxious world of remembered (or forgotten) algorithms and into the world of mathematical problem solving, reasoning, connecting, and communicating.

The Teacher Book is an essential component of the EMPower program. It is designed to be used in conjunction with the Student Book. The Teacher Book includes:

  • Suggestions for facilitating class discussions
  • Open-ended questions designed to keep the math on track
  • Math Background sections to help teachers deepen their understanding of a concept
  • Lesson in Action sections with examples of student work and comments that illuminate the underlying mathematics
  • Examples from the authors' and pilot teachers' classroom experiences

Download sample chapters from the student and teacher books.

EMPower is part of the Adult Numeracy Center at TERC.
Developed and field tested by the Educational Research Collaborative at TERC with support from the National Science Foundation.