Math Expressions focuses on the priority core concepts at each grade level, identified by the Common Core State Standards, to build in-depth understanding of major mathematical ideas. The Math Expressions program is organized by Unit (Topics); the Big Ideas that relate to those topics and the corresponding Common Core Standards; and the lessons that support those standards.

Lessons include sequenced activities designed to develop understanding. The Standards for Mathematical Practice are integrated into every lesson. Math Expressions fits the learning progressions, the core grade level goals, and the dual focus on understanding and fluency of the Common Core State Standards.


The instructional approach used in Math Expressions reflects the focus and intent of the Common Core State Standards including fewer topics taught in greater depth, development of deep understanding and procedural fluency, focused and coherent standards across grade levels, and the integration of the Standards for Mathematical Practice with every topic. The program was designed to implement the same reports and international standards and approaches of high-achieving international programs that were used in the writing of the Common Core State Standards.

Math Expressions supports the development of mathematical understanding through a balanced approach focusing on conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and problem solving.

  • Includes daily lesson activities that develop a deep understanding of mathematical concepts and skills through the use of research-based instructional strategies and learning paths, with daily investigative activities using objects, drawings and real world situations to help students make sense of the math.
  • Provides varied learning opportunities for students including hands-on activities with manipulatives, conceptual supports such as secret code cards (place value), visual and representational activities with MathBoards, learning center activities, and Math Talk experiences. These varied learning experiences help students explain and justify their thinking and develop reasoning skills.
  • Relates research-based accessible algorithms, grounded in place value, to standard algorithms, providing bridges from concrete, to pictorial, to abstract fluency.
  • Provides practice opportunities through daily Quick Practice and Homework and Remembering pages.
  • Includes rich worthwhile problem-solving and reasoning opportunities that focus on word problem types and structures that are referenced in the Common Core State Standards.