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Innovative Products and Programs for Teaching Algebra

Big Ideas Math

This middle school curriculum was developed by mathematics content experts to provide a "narrow and deep" understanding of foundational math, including topics in algebra. The program blends equal amounts of guided, collaborative discovery learning with direct instruction. Teachers can customize materials online, and the curriculum is designed to be compatible with teaching technologies such as interactive whiteboards. Student textbooks are available online for free for anyone to view or use.

Carnegie Learning

The company's middle school mathematics program, Bridge to Algebra, offers algebra I and algebra II as a blended computer/textbook solution; software and textbooks can also be purchased separately. There is also an integrated secondary program that teaches algebra alongside numerical, geometric and statistical concepts over three courses. Products are based on extensive scientific research on student motivation and learning, and they make use of Cognitive Tutor software, which has demonstrated positive effects on student achievement in algebra across multiple schools and districts.

The MIND Research Institute

Algebra Readiness and Secondary Intervention courses blend software with text-based algebra curricula based on psychological research. The MIND Research Institute's innovative "Spatial-Temporal" approach introduces algebraic concepts visually in a gamelike environment first, and incorporates mathematical language and symbols later. The Institute also offers a K5 curriculum that links music and math for increased student motivation and enhanced academic performance.

Pearson's Digits

A Web-based middle school mathematics curriculum released in 2010, Digits personalizes lessons and study plans for each student and automates many of the administrative tasks of teaching, such as correcting homework and designing tests. Written to align with the Common Core State Standards, Digits can be used with just a teacher's computer and projector, but it also features activities that use interactive whiteboards for whole class collaboration. Although the program is too new for independent published research, Pearson has field-tested it with two classes of seventh-grade students.

Plato Learning

This educational technology company publishes semesterlong prealgebra, algebra I and algebra II courses that can be taken entirely online or blended in multiple ways with in-person instruction. Mastery-based learning means that students must demonstrate their understanding of each lesson before continuing, and each learner sets his or her own pace. Administrators and teachers can customize content to fit national, state, local and individual standards and objectives.

Power Teaching: Mathematics

Formerly Student Teams-Achievement Divisions, this instructional method can be used to teach algebra or other mathematical topics using any curriculum or textbook. Students are organized into teams of heterogeneous abilities and are responsible for each other's learning and their overall team performance. This is one of only two middle and high school mathematics programs recognized by the Best Evidence Encyclopedia as having strong empirical evidence for effectiveness.

Singapore Math

Singaporean students consistently score high on international mathematics assessments. With these textbooks for K10, based on Singapore's mathematics curriculum and approach, students learn to solve problems collaboratively, using a standard diagramming technique called "bar modeling." The company claims that Singapore Math is used in more than 1,500 schools in the United States.

 Texas Instruments' TI-Navigator System

This system enables student calculators to network wirelessly with a central device, which allows teachers to see individual students' work in real time from a single location. The system has demonstrated benefits for learning algebra in several experimental studies, and it is compatible with multiple Texas Instruments calculators, including the TI-73 Explorer, TI-83 Plus, TI-84 Plus, TI-84 Plus Silver Edition and TI-Nspire.