example-based math assignments for 4th and 5th graders

Research-based + Reality Checked!

CCSS-M aligned

The assignments were developed in accordance with Common Core standards. Their design requires students to "make sense of a problem" [Practice Standard (PS)-1] and "critique the reasoning of others" [PS-3] including having students explain the flaws in incorrect reasoning [PS-3]. The assignments also provide opportunities for students to decontextualize word problems [PS-2], analyze relationships between tables, graphs, and formulas to draw conclusions [PS-4], state the meanings of symbols and variables [PS-6], and look for patterns in problem sets [PS-7].

States or districts that have not adopted the Common Core teach similar concepts and can easily select the assignments that fit their own curriculum.


The assignments are easily integrated into teachers' regular classroom routine. They can be completed individually or in groups as a do-now, pretest review, exit ticket, post-lesson practice, or in centers. Teachers can use whichever assignments align to their lessons at that time and in any order.


All materials are available online - free of charge to download and print. For convenience, pre-printed workbooks are available to order online. No costly professional development is needed, but it is important that teachers understand why the assignments were designed the way they are.

Strategically designed

Attention to design is crucial to producing quality curriculum materials. SERP is committed to user-centered design and has included teachers and students in the design process.


Prior research using the same approach in Algebra classrooms indicates that MathByExample has high potential to improve 4th and 5th graders' math performance. Completing these assignments should help students succeed both immediately and in future math classes by minimizing incorrect procedures and ideas and strengthening correct ones. Data from the MathByExample studies are currently being analyzed.

Within each MathByExample assignment, students:

  1. analyze correct and incorrect examples;
  2. explain the thinking of "other" students' work; and
  3. solve problems that are similar to the examples.

Development of MathByExample was led by Julie Booth (Temple University) through a SERP collaboration with several school districts. The collaboration has been supported to conduct this work by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305A150456 to Strategic Education Research Partnership Institute. The information provided does not represent views of the funders


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