Discovering a Wealth of Resources to Build a Solid Math Foundation

By Tina Spencer, M.S.
Updated September/October 2013
Originally Published November/December 2010


In general educational classrooms, many students with disabilities struggle to meet the math standards.  The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) emphasizes the importance of having all students learn and value mathematics.   To help students become better problem solvers and reason mathematically, the NCTM promotes the Concrete-Representational-Abstract (CRA) instructional sequence. 

  • CONCRETE:  Student uses hands-on, physical (concrete) models or manipulatives to represent numbers and unknowns.
  • REPRESENTATIONAL or semi-concrete:  Student draws or uses pictorial representations of the models.
  • ABSTRACT:  Student uses numbers as abstract symbols of pictorial displays.

 Example of CRA:  Tilt or Balance the Equation 

  • Concrete:
Provide students with a physical balance scale
  • Representational:
Have students draw circles representing the numbers in the math equation
  • Abstract:  
Write the numbers in the math equation





Resources and Websites Recommended by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to Support Virginia Math Teachers

Math Enhanced Scope and Sequence Sample Lesson Plans

Instructional Videos for Teachers

Mathematics Vocabulary Word Wall Cards (K-8)

Additional Teacher Resources and Websites
Math Word Walls  

Developed to promote NCTM Math standards and principles    

Harvey Almarode, internationally known Math Professional Developer

Interactive math lessons

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives 

Discovery Education free lesson plans for K-12 


Student-Friendly Math Websites

A network of math lessons, practice activities, games, and a math dictionary 

Developed to help students improve their math skills interactively

Ask Dr. Math is a question-and-answer service for math students and their teachers. A searchable archive is available by level and topic.  

BrainBashers is a collection of brain teasers, puzzles, riddles, games, and optical illusions.

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, in cooperation with the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Widmeyer Communications, and the Learning First Alliance, launched Figure This!  to meet the rigors and demands of increasingly higher-level concepts and approaches to problem solving in today’s math classes.

© 2002 Pearson Education, Inc. Funbrain offers free games, parent and teacher resources, and a math quiz lab.

The goal of this math website is to help elementary school (Grades 1 through 6) children boost their math problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. has over 15,000 online and printable NCTM compliant math word problems.

The Math Forum is a research and educational enterprise of the Goodwin College of Professional Studies which includes K-12 Math problems, puzzles, tips and tricks.

A portal of free math sites for elementary students compiled by a teacher to be both fun and educational.