eMATHinstruction was founded in 2008 by Kirk Weiler. Kirk taught math in the public school system in New York, for two decades, teaching everything from Algebra I to AP Calculus. From early in his career, Kirk realized that students benefited greatly from well designed, teacher-guided instruction and exploration. He began to design his lessons for the courses he taught, each of which consisted of exercises that explored the essential questions and focused on the fundamental understanding that students should have from a set of standards. Kirk also created his own homework sets, which mixed problems that encouraged fluency, application, and reasoning.
In 2006, Kirk worked with 25 middle school and high school math teachers in his district to write an electronic algebra textbook consisting of around 100 lessons and 100 homework sets that addressed the New York State Standards for Integrated Algebra 1. At Kirk’s insistence, the text, known as the Arlington Algebra Project, was placed online in PDF form for free use. It was used around the state of New York and was viewed over 250,000 times throughout its life. Due to the popularity of this model of instruction, Kirk founded eMATHinstruction just a few years later, with the company’s first publication being Algebra 2 with Trigonometry.
In 2013, Kirk began working with screencast technology in a precalculus class he was teaching at the time. He wanted to create videos of his lessons that students could use if they were absent or confused about the material after he taught it. He posted these videos to YouTube to make them easily available. At the same time, Kirk began to write an e-text for Common Core Algebra I due to the lack of quality curriculum materials available for the new Common Core-aligned math courses. Based on the popularity of the videos he made for precalculus, Kirk began recording a series of videos for the most challenging topics in Common Core Algebra I. To his great surprise, these videos immediately started to be watched hundreds of times and linked to by teachers across the state of New York. That summer, Kirk completed Common Core Algebra I, a course consisting of a collection of about 95 lessons and homework sets, and made them freely available through eMATHinstruction.
eMATHinstruction now offers Common Core-aligned courses in Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II, as well as the original Integrated Math aligned Algebra 2 with Trigonometry. Recently, eMATHinstruction has also created courses for the New York State Next Generation Learning Standards for Mathematics in grades 6, 7, and 8. The Next Generation Standards are based on the Common Core Standards. Like many states, New York has decided, after around a decade of the Common Core, to clarify and strengthen the Common Core Standards, as well as give them a less controversial name. Those states whose standards are based on the Common Core will find eMATHinstruction’s Next Generation aligned courses a good fit for their classes as well.
All eMATHinstruction courses have a similar design based on a simple concept. At eMATHinstruction, we believe that all children can learn math at high levels if the instruction that they are given is well designed. Well-designed instruction seeks to have students explore the important ideas behind a concept in initial exercises, build fluency in later exercises, and culminate in the application and discussion of the mathematics in the lesson. Teachers use the lessons by guiding their students through each exercise with appropriate discussion and group work mixed in. Well-designed lessons need well-designed homework sets to reinforce the enduring understandings that we want students to come away with. eMATHinstruction homework sets vary by course but include fluency, application, and reasoning problems. We design the homework sets to be of an appropriate length for nightly homework as well as ensure that the problems correlate to the concepts from the lessons.
The creation of an eMATHinstruction course starts with a thorough understanding of the standards that are covered in the course. eMATHinstruction then considers how each standard connects with others in the course and plans the flow of the topics accordingly. We believe that each math course is a story to be told throughout the year. Units early in the course set the foundation, while later units develop more abstract concepts. Our middle school courses often start with exploring concepts of number and quantity, eventually transitioning to algebraic thinking and geometric modeling. In our high school algebra courses, we begin with foundational ideas such as expressions, equations, and functions and then delve deeper into other topics by using this solid foundation. Geometry begins with the basic concepts of points, lines, and angles and it brings forth a story filled with transformations, reasoning, and insights. Every lesson we create comes with a full-length lesson video that takes a student from the first exercise to the last.
eMATHinstruction knows that teachers have limited time to do all that is being asked of them. We provide a backbone curriculum with our lessons and homework sets that allow teachers to be creative with their time and use it to optimally benefit students. As all teachers know, creating a curriculum takes a lot of time! By relieving a majority of the lesson planning from a teacher’s plate, eMATHinstruction courses free up time for teachers to work one-on-one with students, create more activities, and use assessment to help guide instruction. Because we give all of these resources away for free, teachers from around the country can give their students a cohesive year of instruction while ensuring they meet all of the standards for that course.
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