Without a strong foundation, a tall building would not stand.

Likewise, without a strong foundation in mathematical concepts — such as patterns, size and shape, and location and direction — children can struggle to understand the more complex mathematical thinking they need later in life.

The Early Math Collaborative’s “Big Ideas” offer teachers a comprehensive list of the foundational mathematical knowledge and concepts. Our Big Ideas aren’t pushed-down math curriculum for older children. They are developmentally appropriate concepts that are clearly mathematical and which clearly can be taught.

The Big Ideas are based on the most current research from the fields of cognitive science and mathematics education and connect to the Common Core State Standards.

Examples of Big Ideas

  • Measurement & Data: Collecting data helps answer questions when the answers are not immediately obvious. How to teach this
  • Counting & Cardinality: Attributes — size, shape, color, and so on — can be used to sort items into sets. How to teach this
  • Operations & Algebraic Thinking: Quantity is an attribute of a set of objects, and we use numbers to name specific quantities. How to teach this
  • Geometry: Relationships between objects and places can be represented with mathematical precision. How to teach this

More Big Ideas