When looking for a math curriculum, schools and teachers want:
- A comprehensive mathematics program that will increase student test scores
- One that is easy to teach
- One that gives students the foundation they need for everyday living in our technological world
- One that gives students a solid understanding and love for math
This research-based, comprehensive RightStart™ Mathematics program, is used worldwide. It provides students with the foundation they need by helping them understand abstract mathematical concepts.
What Makes RightStart™ Math Different?
RightStart™ Math is a unique program that
- Incorporates visualization of quantities
- De-emphasizes counting
- Provides strategies for learning the facts
Visualization and Grouping
The primary learning tool used in RightStart™ Math is the Cotter Abacus. This specially designed and effective learning tool is hands-on and develops a visual model of mathematical ideas. It engages students in the learning experience while providing them with an interactive instructional model that will deepen their understanding of abstract mathematical concepts.
To appreciate visualization, try to imagine eight apples in a line without grouping them–virtually impossible. Next, imagine five of those apples as red and three as green. Now, you can see them. Students learn to use these mental models for doing arithmetic.
Counting is an inaccurate and inefficient model that ignores place value. However, when students learn to group in quantities of fives and tens, they can quickly visualize the solution, enabling them to solve problems quicker and more accurately.
Look at the figures below. Without counting or grouping, can you tell how many blocks are in the left figure? How many are in the right figure?
In RightStart™ Math, understanding is emphasized. Jo Boaler, a mathematics professor at Stanford University, said,
I have never committed math facts to memory, although I can quickly produce any math fact.
She goes on to say, “My lack of memorization has never held me back at any time or place in my life, even though I am a mathematics professor, because I have number sense, which is much more important for students to learn and includes the learning of math facts along with a deep understanding of numbers and the ways they relate to each other.
When students understand number sense, they need less time reviewing the math facts. Conversely, rote memorizing, is high maintenance, requiring constant review. Students who learn math facts through memorization usually can’t apply them to new ideas. A better way to help students learn and retain math facts and concepts is to help them understand them.
RightStart™ Math introduces place value early. The Place Value Cards are a tactile and visual tool to help students learn how to construct numbers and read them from left to right. They can see the pattern that ten 1s is 10, ten 10s is 100, and ten 100s is 1000 by working with 4-digit numbers, even in first grade. Traditional math programs stop at 99, preventing the students from seeing this pattern.
“Why the Cotter Abacus?”
We know that children learn best when they work with physical models to explore math’s inherent patterns. The Cotter Abacus has 100 beads grouped in fives by color and grouped in tens by rows. When students use the beads to add two or more quantities together, the sum is obvious. No counting is required.
The Cotter Abacus also provides visual pictures to help the children master the facts. Even though students enjoy using it, it doesn’t become a crutch because they develop a mental image of the patterns and strategies taught to them through the abacus, removing the need for it.
One day, a five-year-old boy named Stan was asked,
“How much is 11 + 6?” He answered 17. When asked how he knew the answer, he said,
“I’ve got the abacus in my mind.”
Discover for Yourself the Difference RightStart™ Math Makes
For more information about RightStart Math and how it will help your students grow in their understanding of mathematical concepts, check out the curriculum and intervention pages. You can also contact us for more information and to find out how you can get these materials in your school.
RightStart Math’s Mission: To help everyone understand, apply, and enjoy mathematics.