Math Trailblazers is based on the idea that mathematics is best learned in real-world contexts that are meaningful to children.
Students work collaboratively with their peers to make sense of concepts, while using multiple representations and tools to solve complex problems. This solid conceptual foundation gives students the power to develop fluency with mathematical procedures.
The curriculum also approaches math facts in a conceptual and systematic way. Students first approach basic facts as problems to be solved, using and developing strategies. Students then practice these facts in small groups organized by strategy.
As students become proficient with these strategies, they become fluent with the math facts.
Math Trailblazers has been authored by a team of mathematicians, scientists, education researchers, and teachers who are part of the Teaching of Integrated Mathematics and Science (TIMS) Project at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
The curriculum is research based and has evolved through continued research on implementation practices and student achievement by the authors and others.
The primary goal of Math Trailblazers has been to create an educational experience that helps children become flexible mathematical thinkers, see connections between the mathematics they learn in school and their experiences in everyday life, and enjoy mathematics.