Preparing Teachers of Elementary Mathematics

Supplementary Materials for AMTE Standards

The Elementary Mathematics Project (EMP) developed and tested curriculum materials to support instructors of mathematics content and methods courses for future elementary teachers. This project, funded by NSF (2011-2021), created 57 lessons with student materials, Instructor Guides, background documents, and video clips of prospective teachers engaged with EMP materials (300) for teaching number concepts, addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, fractions, elementary number theory, geometry, and geometric measurement, in face-to-face and on-line environments. You can access a sample of materials from the Geometry unit for face-to-face teaching here. For access to the other Geometry lessons and the complete curriculum, as well as suggestions for how to adapt materials for an online setting, please contact or visit our website at

Standards and Indicators these Materials Target

The Elementary Mathematics Project materials largely address indicators under the umbrella of standard C.1., Mathematics Concepts, Practices, and Curriculum within the AMTE Standards for Preparing Teachers of Mathematics. 

Indicator C.1.1. Know Relevant Mathematical Content

Elaboration EC.1. Deep Understanding of Early Mathematics

EMP lessons address carefully selected, high leverage topics which are part of elementary school curricula. Lessons are designed to create opportunities for PTs to wrestle with and communicate about important ideas, as part of the process of developing deep understanding of the ideas. Mathematics teacher educators are supported in carrying out the recommended pedagogy of the curriculum, to help their PTs’ growth, through introduction documents and through the individual lessons’ Instructor Guides. 

Indicator C.1.2. Demonstrate Mathematical Practices and Processes

Elaboration UE.1. Mathematics Concepts and Connections to Mathematical Practices

The EMP materials support PTs to talk and write about mathematics, to craft explanations and justifications of mathematical concepts. Each EMP lesson is structured in cycles of small group and whole class discussion; thus, the design assumes a classroom format in which students are in conversation the vast majority of the time. Each EMP lesson includes rigorous tasks to work on in small groups, broken up into cycles by one to three questions for whole class discussion.

Indicator C.1.6. Use Mathematical Tools and Technology

Elaboration UE.3. Tools to Build Student Understanding

EMP lessons give PTs the opportunity to use mathematical tools (models, manipulatives, etc) which not only have potential to support their own learning of mathematical concepts, but which they may also want to use in their own elementary classrooms in the future. 

Indicator C.3.1. Anticipate and Attend to Students’ Thinking About Mathematics Content

Elaboration EC.7. Seeing Mathematics Through Children’s Eyes

EMP materials allow PTs to learn (or re-learn) elementary school mathematics, often experiencing general pedagogy and specific mathematics teaching strategies elementary students may experience. To support PTs and their instructors in maintaining a focus on children’s perspectives, EMP Lessons and Instructor Guides regularly include references to the elementary classroom. Some lessons include opportunities for PTs to watch videos of elementary students engaging in mathematical thinking. In the lessons included in this sample, PTs answer problems where they must analyze the elementary students’ thinking, play mathematical games that children could play, and analyze mathematical justifications appropriate for children of various ages.


About the Authors

Suzanne Chapin - Boston University 

Lynsey Gibbons - University of Delaware 

Ziv Feldman - Boston University