The mission of the Frisco Independent School District elementary mathematics program is to promote meaningful learning for all students through a comprehensive curriculum. Our program is committed to maximizing the learning of mathematics in which students are engaged in the process of making sense of mathematics, developing conceptual understanding of mathematical concepts, application of strategies for solving meaningful problems, and working as a community of learners.

Elementary Math Instructional Model

Our math instructional model is based on the Math Workshop Model. The elements of the Math Workshop Model of instruction include: Daily Problem Solving; Mental Math; Mini-lesson, Differentiated Small Group Instruction and Application with Station Activities; and Reflection Connections. Our state standards dictate the curriculum and instruction scope of mathematics. The learning environment is based on investigative exploration of mathematical concepts that builds conceptual understanding before proceeding to the procedural process. 

In order to develop students as mathematical thinkers, a critical skill for educational and work force success, children need to understand the conceptual basis of numbers and procedures. You might notice your child using one or more of the following strategies below as they solve problems with basic number operations. Do not be alarmed! These strategies keep the "place value" meaning of numbers and are used to introduce operations before teaching students the procedure or algorithm (how you and I were taught to compute). These strategies also provide the foundation for mental math. Check out these videos on YouTube and read some of the "whys" after you've watched the videos.


Teaching Strategies

For more information on the scope and sequence of the mathematical concepts taught K-5 in 2013-2014, please follow these links:

Why the Focus is on Learning Math Conceptually?

Why are students taught conceptually before moving to the procedure?

  • To understand the meaning, the use and connections between addition, multiplication, subtraction, and division;
  • To understand the "why" and "how" of operations and not just memorizing steps (what most of us learned in school);
  • To select from a repertoire of computational strategies (including mental computation) for each operation;
  • To be proficient mathematicians;
  • To promote students' capacity to think flexibly of numbers as sums and differences of other numbers with all mental and written calculations.

When do we teach procedurally?

  • The procedure, also known as an algorithm, is sometimes a more efficient strategy for students when in written form.
  • As students make connections and show understanding of the operation conceptually, they begin using an algorithm.
  • Differentiated instruction in small group provides the flexibility for teachers to assess children's readiness to move to the procedure.

The following list includes a variety of resources and research that support our instructional practices in mathematics.

Elementary Math Curriculum Resources

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS):
Mathematical Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for grades K-12

Investigations Parent Communication

State of Texas Assessment on Academic Readiness

Overview of the TEKS
Download an overview and history of the Mathematics Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.

Elementary Math Research of Best Instructional Practices

Investigations Research

Today's Math
Article published by NCTM

Basic Facts
Research on learning the basic facts
National Council of Teachers of Mathematic

Principles and Standards for School Mathematics:
Principles and Standards for School Mathematics

John A. VanDeWalle
Elementary and Middle School Mathematics Teaching Developmentally, John A. VanDeWalle

First Steps
First Steps in Mathematics
National Science Foundation


National Academies
National Research Council, Adding it Up: Helping Children Learn Mathematics

Department of Education and Training of Western Australia (2007). First Steps in Mathematics.