Contexts for Learning Mathematics, Level 1 by Catherine Twomey Fosnot.
Contexts for Learning Mathematics, Level 1

Contexts for Learning Mathematics, Level 1

Investigating Number Sense Grades K-3

By Catherine Twomey Fosnot

Contexts for Learning Mathematics is a rigorous classroom resource that makes use of a math workshop environment to bring the Standards for Mathematical Practice to life. The Level 1 (grades K–3) package includes eight classroom-tested units (and supporting resources) that use rich, authentic contexts to promote understanding and ensure the development of a positive growth mindset.

Read Full Description below »


In Stock

List Price: $268.75

Web/School Price: $215.00

This product is part of the series:  The Context for Learning Mathematics Series

(click any section below to continue reading)

Full Description

The new Contexts for Learning Mathematics series by Catherine Fosnot and colleagues from Mathematics in the City and the Freudenthal Institute uses carefully crafted math situations to foster a deep conceptual understanding of essential mathematical ideas, strategies, and models.

Investigating Number Sense, Addition, and Subtraction (K–3) is the first level in the Contexts for Learning Mathematics series. In this package eight classroom-tested units foster a deep conceptual understanding of fundamental topics such as place value, compensation and equivalence, addition and subtraction on the open number line, and the efficient use of five- and ten-structures. Eight read-aloud books (15” x 12”) use rich imaginable contexts—realistic and fictional—to set the stage for learning. Three resource guides containing strings of related games and minilessons support instruction throughout the year and are ideal for differentiating instruction. An overview book and online resources provide professional support with print and video resources for your math workshop.

The series’ 18 classroom-tested units are organized into three age-appropriate packages. 

Whether used as supplemental units or as replacement units, Contexts for Learning Mathematics provides you with the tools you need to engage all of your students in the study of mathematics. tools. 

To learn more about Contexts for Learning Mathematics, please visit


Investigating Number Sense, Addition, and Subtraction (K–3) is organized around eight classroom-tested units.

Bunk Beds and Apple Boxes: Early Number Sense
by Catherine Twomey Fosnot
In Bunk Beds and Apple Boxes children learn about compensation and equivalence within the context of a pajama party during which eight excitable girls confound their babysitter by continually changing places on their bunk bed and also in a grocery store where a grocer arranges apples in different-sized trays. The arithmetic rack is introduced as a model for exploring part-whole relations.

Beads and Shoes, Making Twos: Extending Number Sense
by Madeline Chang and Catherine Twomey Fosnot
Beads and Shoes, Making Twos uses the context of walking hand in hand in two lines to explore doubles and even or odd numbers. A story about designing necklace patterns using two colors of beads creates a context for exploring the relationship between doubles and skip-counting and invites students to work with groups as units.

The Double-Decker Bus: Early Addition and Subtraction
by Maarten Dolk, Nina Liu, and Catherine Twomey Fosnot
The Double-Decker Bus, the story of a little girl’s efforts to count the passengers on fast-moving double-decker buses, introduces students to the benefits of using the five-structure to quickly calculate quantities. The arithmetic rack, whose beads mirror the organization of seats on the buses, provides a model for solving addition and subtraction problems.

Organizing and Collecting: The Number System
by Nina Liu, Maarten Dolk, and Catherine Twomey Fosnot
In Organizing and Collecting the hopelessly disorganized Masloppy family’s efforts to keep track of their things create a context for investigating place value patterns and efficient ways to count with five- and ten-structures. As the unit progresses, children develop place value and addition strategies.

Measuring for the Art Show: Addition on the Open Number Line
by Catherine Twomey Fosnot
Measuring for the Art Show builds on children’s early addition and measurement strategies within the context of preparing labels for an art show. The open number line is developed as a model for recording children’s addition and subtraction strategies.

Trades, Jumps, and Stops: Early Algebra
by Catherine Twomey Fosnot and Patricia Lent
In Trades, Jumps, and Stops, the equitable distribution of funds from the Masloppy piggy bank to finance a family trip introduces big ideas and strategies in algebra, including using substitution to examine for equivalence and using associative and commutative properties to make equivalent expressions. The double number line is used as a model for understanding exchange and equivalence.

Ages and Timelines: Subtraction on the Open Number Line
by Catherine Twomey Fosnot
Ages and Timelines begins with the story of eight-year-old Carlos’s visit with his great-grandfather. Carlos’s fascination with his great-grandfather’s beautiful silver hair, and the time it will take him to grow a similar mane, initiates a family-wide investigation into age differences. The context of age differences and the open number line model support the development of subtraction strategies.

The T-Shirt Factory: Place Value, Addition, and Subtraction
by Catherine Twomey Fosnot
Students revisit the Masloppy family in The T-Shirt Factory as Grandma Masloppy launches a lucrative T-shirt business. This context and follow-up simulations highlight place value, regrouping, equivalence, and systematic exchange. As the unit progresses, standard addition and subtraction algorithms are explored, and the concept of place value is developed to four places.

Companion Resources

Common Core Math Standards crosswalk to the CFL Math series