Johns Hopkins University Secondary Support Initiative (JHUSSI)  

Methods in Mathematics



Mathematics is a highly interrelated subject. As children grow, they use previously learned math skills to solve new types of calculations and real-world math problems (NCTM, 2000). Since children develop math skills at an individual rate, they should practice concepts that are connected to their age and ability level. Teachers should present concepts in a manner that logically builds upon past lessons. It is important for students to master prerequisite skills before moving on to more advanced concepts (Wadlington & Wadlington, 2008).


While, math instruction differs based on children’s grade level, the most basic elements of elementary and middle school mathematics include:

  • Number sense, or the understanding of different types of numbers and how they relate to one another (Gurganus, 2007). 
  • Calculations, or determining how numbers are affected by the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division).
  • Problem solving, or applying mathematics to real world situations to solve for an unknown number (NCTM, 2014).
  • Geometry, or the area of math that deals with points, lines, shapes, and space.
  • Measurement, or assigning a numerical value to an object based on its attributes (NCTM, 2014).
  • Data analysis, or the process of collecting, organizing, and studying numerical information.

The following lessons highlight the use instructional strategies to develop fluency with polynomials. While these lessons are designed to be used with children in the middle to upper grades, the use of acronyms, mnemonics devices, graphic organizers, and hands-on learning demonstrated in these lessons will be beneficial to children of all grade levels.