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Supporting Math Foundational Skills in the Primary Grades (K-3)

Do you find that your K-3 students often struggle with the most basic of mathematical principles? Do you want to find a way to better support those students as they learn to unlock the gift of mathematics? The intent of this course is to provide a toolbox of both information and activities that K-3 teachers can use to support students who struggle to understand and grasp both the meaning and the manipulation of basic math principles. Some of the topics include counting and cardinality, counting objects, rote counting, number sense of quantity, counting on and back, operations of addition and subtraction, composing and decomposing numbers, the application of mathematical foundational skills within the problem-solving process, and guiding students to use their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills to make real-world connections. Teachers will also learn how to determine student levels and how to choose and design assessments to best utilize the resources that are available within a typical math curriculum. As teachers work through this course, they will learn how to create meaningful and engaging activities in order to promote student ownership, and they will learn how to establish home connections so that those mathematical habits of mind can flourish. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units from UC San Diego Extension. For detailed information on university credit, click here.

"The content and resources were thorough and helpful. I was able to use a lot immediately in my classroom." - Jessica Cullen


Enrollment Options

Register] Course Registration Only $120 with the discount

Register]Course Plus Credit from UC San Diego Extension Only $304


Required Resource Book: This course has a modestly-priced required resource book (available in both new and used versions) that can be purchased through Amazon using the following link. Note that you can begin and participate in your course before the book arrives.

Young Children's Mathematics” by Thomas Carpenter, Megan Franke, Nicholas Johnson, Angela Chan Turrou, and Anita Wager

If you are registering for multiple courses, use the following link to access the book list for all PDI courses with direct purchase links through Amazon. PDI Course Resource Book List


Topical Outline / Click here to request a copy of the detailed syllabus

PDI Course Number: 108T02

UCSD Course Number: EDUC40223

Unit One

  • The Importance of Establishing Foundational Skills
  • Critical Areas in Mathematics
  • A Review of the Math Practice Standards
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography
  • Test #1

Unit Two

  • Determining Student Levels
  • Choosing and Designing an Assessment Style
  • Utilizing Resources Within Your Math Curriculum
  • Assignment #2: Article reflection
  • Test #2

Unit Three

  • Counting and Cardinality
  • Counting Objects
  • Rote Counting
  • Test #3
  • Assignment #3: Share your expertise

Unit Four

  • Number Sense and Quantity
  • Counting on and Back
  • Operations of Addition and Subtraction
  • Compose and Decompose Numbers
  • Test #4

Unit Five

  • Foundations of Problem Solving
  • The Application of Foundational Skills Within the problem-Solving Process
  • Using Mathematics as a Tool to Make Real-World Connections
  • Test #5

Unit Six

  • Taking Ownership Through Engagement
  • Establishing Home Connections and Mathematical Habits of Mind
  • Assignment #4: Develop math foundation lessons
  • Assignment #5: Reading/Learning Log (Based on required resource book)