Teaching Elementary Math Conceptually:

A New Paradigm


Instructor Name:          Kim Chappell

Phone:                         509-891-7219

Office Hours:               8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST Monday - Friday

Email:                          kim_chappell@virtualeduc.com

Address:                      Virtual Education Software

                                    16201 E Indiana Ave, Suite 1450

                                    Spokane, WA 99216

Technical Support:       support@virtualeduc.com



Welcome to Teaching Elementary Math Conceptually, an interactive computer-based instruction course designed to expand your methodology for teaching Mathematics.  The course will explore an innovative teaching model that incorporates strategies for teaching concepts constructively and contextually.  The goal is for you to gain a deeper understanding of the underlying concepts of various math topics and to explore the principles of teaching those concepts to learners.  The course will also explore the teaching methodology that supports learning the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  This course will focus on the topics of number sense, basic operations, and fractions.


This computer-based instruction course is a self-supporting program that provides instruction, structured practice, and evaluation all on your home or school computer.  Technical support information can be found in the Help section of your course.


Course Materials (Online)

      Title:          Teaching Elementary Math Conceptually: A New Paradigm

      Instructor: Kim Chappell, Ed.D.

      Publisher:   Virtual Education Software, inc. 2010, Revised 2014, Revised 2017


Academic Integrity Statement

The structure and format of most distance learning courses presume a high level of personal and academic integrity in completion and submission of coursework. Individuals enrolled in a distance-learning course are expected to adhere to the following standards of academic conduct.


Academic Work

Academic work submitted by the individual (such as papers, assignments, reports, tests) shall be the student’s own work or appropriately attributed, in part or in whole, to its correct source. Submission of commercially prepared (or group prepared) materials as if they are one’s own work is unacceptable.


Aiding Honesty in Others

The individual will encourage honesty in others by refraining from providing materials or information to another person with knowledge that these materials or information will be used improperly.


Violations of these academic standards will result in the assignment of a failing grade and subsequent loss of credit for the course.


Level of Application

This course is designed to be an informational course with application to work or work-related settings. The intervention strategies are designed to be used primarily with elementary students, or any students who struggle with understanding mathematics.



Course Objectives

·         Expand conceptual understanding of number sense, basic operations, and fractions

·         Explore a conceptual model of teaching math

·         Develop skill in designing constructive learning experiences

·         Explore strategies that supports learning the skills outlined in the CCSS

·         Investigate integrating concrete modeling to support conceptual teaching


Course Description

The course Teaching Elementary Math Conceptually: A New Paradigm is designed to explain and connect the major concepts, procedures, and reasoning processes of mathematics.  Current research and trends in math education will be discussed to outline a teaching methodology that is conceptual, contextual, and constructive and supports learning the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  Activities are presented to explain underlying concepts and illustrate constructive teaching.  The course has been divided into four chapters covering four math topics: number sense, addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, and fractions.  Emphasis is on exploring how to develop mathematical understanding in learners.


Student Expectations 

As a student you will be expected to:

·         Complete all four information sections showing a competent understanding of the material presented in each section.

·         Complete all four section examinations, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.  You must obtain an overall score of 70% or higher, with no individual exam score below 50%, to pass this course.  *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

·         Complete a review of any section on which your examination score was below 50%.

·         Retake any examination, after completing an information review, to increase that examination score to a minimum of 50%, making sure to also be achieving an overall exam score of a minimum 70% (maximum of three attempts). *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

·         Complete a course evaluation form at the end of the course.


Course Overview

Chapter 1 – Number Sense

The first chapter outlines the teaching model, including a discussion of the conceptual, contextual, and constructive teaching of math. Comparisons are drawn between traditional math education and conceptual teaching. The chapter also explores the methodology in relationship to the Common Core State Standards. The chapter also explores how to develop conceptual understanding of number sense, counting principles, and place value. Example activities are presented, both to explain mathematical concepts and to illustrate teaching strategies.


Chapter 2 – Addition & Subtraction

The second chapter covers concepts in addition, subtraction, and estimation. This chapter explores foundational concepts to develop computational fluency without memorization. Strategies represent conceptual and constructive teaching. A unique manipulative tool is introduced that is used extensively to develop operational concepts and expand place value principles.


Chapter 3 – Multiplication & Division

The third chapter develops concepts in multiplication, division, and prime numbers. In this chapter, designing contextual problems is discussed. Strategies presented are designed to construct operational concepts that are foundational to fractions. Place value concepts are expanded, and prime number concepts are developed.


Chapter 4 – Fractions

The final chapter explores fractional understandings. Alternative manipulatives are used to develop essential concepts as well as computational principles. In addition, a unique strategy is presented to find common denominators, equivalent fractions, and reduced fractions. All operations, including division, are presented using manipulatives to teach for understanding.



At the end of each chapter, you will be expected to complete an examination designed to assess your knowledge. You may take these exams a total of three times. Your last score will save, not the highest score.  After your third attempt, each examination will lock and not allow further access.  Your final grade for the course will be determined by calculating an average score of all exams.  This score will be printed on your final certificate.  As this is a self-paced computerized instruction program, you may review course information as often as necessary. You will not be able to exit any examinations until you have answered all questions. If you try to exit the exam before you complete all questions, your information will be lost. You are expected to complete the entire exam in one sitting.


Instructor Description

Teaching Elementary Math Conceptually: A New Paradigm was developed by Kim Chappell. Kim Chappell is an Assistant Professor of Education at Fort Hays State University in Kansas. Currently, she teaches graduate courses in the Advanced Education Programs Department. She supervises research projects, mentors students, and writes curriculum. Dr. Chappell has over 27 years of teaching experience, 14 of those years in grades one through eight. She spent nine years teaching middle school mathematics. She holds two master’s degrees, a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, and a Master of Science in Mathematics Education. She also holds an Ed.D. degree in Instructional Leadership.


Contacting the Instructor

You may contact the instructor by emailing Professor Chappell at kim_chappell@virtualeduc.com or calling her at

509-891-7219, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. PST.  Phone messages will be answered within 24 hours.  Phone conferences will be limited to ten minutes per student, per day, given that this is a self-paced instructional program. Please do not contact the instructor about technical problems, course glitches, or other issues that involve the operation of the course.


Technical Questions

If you have questions or problems related to the operation of this course, please try everything twice. If the problem persists please check our support pages for FAQs and known issues at www.virtualeduc.com and also the Help section of your course.


If you need personal assistance then email support@virtualeduc.com or call (509) 891-7219.  When contacting technical support, please know your course version number (it is located at the bottom left side of the Welcome Screen) and your operating system, and be seated in front of the computer at the time of your call. 


Minimum Computer Requirements

Please refer to VESi’s website: www.virtualeduc.com or contact VESi if you have further questions about the compatibility of your operating system.


Refer to the addendum regarding Grading Criteria, Course Completion Information, Items to be Submitted and how to submit your completed information. The addendum will also note any additional course assignments that you may be required to complete that are not listed in this syllabus.



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Burns, M. (2013). Go figure: Math and the common core. Educational Leadership. 70(4), 42-46.

De Visscher, A., Noël, M-P., De Smedt, B. (2016). The role of physical digit representation and numerical magnitude representation in children’s multiplication fact retrieval. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 152, 41-53.

Gardner, H. (1993). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York: Basic Books.


Glatthorn, A., Boschee, F., Whitehead, B., & Boschee, B. (2012). Curriculum leadership: Strategies for development and implementation. (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2005). Fractions, grades 6–8. Baltimore: Author.


Moomaw, S. (2011). Teaching mathematics in early childhood. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.


Muschla, J. A., & Muschla, G. R. (2012). Teaching the common core math standards with hands-on activities. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


Musser, G. L., Peterson, B. E., & Burger, W. F. (2013). Mathematics for elementary teachers: a contemporary approach. (10th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.


Nadelson, L. S., Pluska, H., Moorcroft, S., Jeffrey, A., Woodard, S. (2014). Educators' perceptions and knowledge of the common core state standards. Issues in Teacher Education, 47-66.    


National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2000). Principles and standards for school mathematics. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.


National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2014). Principles to actions: Ensuring mathematical success for all. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.


Peng, P., Namkung, J. M., Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L. S., Patton, S., Yen, L., Compton, D. L. Zhang, W. Miller, A., & Hamlett, C. (2016). A longitudinal study on predictors of early calculation development among young children at risk for learning difficulties. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 152, 221-241.


Schmidt, W. H., & Houang, R. T. (2012). Curricular coherence and the Common Core State Standards for mathematics. Educational Researcher, 41(8).


Seeber, F. (1984). Patent No. 4560354. USA.


Singer-Dudek, J. & Greer, R. D. (2005). A long-term analysis of the relationship between fluency and the training and maintenance of complex math skills. The Psychological Record, 55(3), 361-376.

Swars, S. L., & Chestnutt, C. (2016). Transitioning to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics: A Mixed Methods Study of Elementary Teachers' Experiences and Perspectives. School Science & Mathematics116(4), 212-224. doi:10.1111/ssm.12171

Van de Walle, J. A., Karp, K., & Bay-Williams, J. (2013). Elementary and middle school mathematics: Teaching developmentally (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Van de Walle, J. A., Karp, K. S., Lovin, L. A., & Bay-Williams, J. M. (2013). Teaching student-centered mathematics: Developmentally appropriate instruction for grades pre-K-2. Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

Wilson, P. H., Downs, H. A. (2014). Supporting mathematics teachers in the common core implementation. AASA Journal of Scholarship & Practice, 11(1).

Course content is updated every three years. Due to this update timeline, some URL links may no longer be active or may have changed. Please type the title of the organization into the command line of any Internet browser search window and you will be able to find whether the URL link is still active or any new link to the corresponding organization's web home page.


Updated 7/12/17 JN