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A PreK-8 visual instructional program that helps children of all backgrounds and abilities develop a deep, conceptual understanding of math.

ST Math

location_on United States
ST Math starts by teaching foundational math concepts visually, then connects the ideas to symbols and language. With visual learning, students are better equipped to tackle unfamiliar math problems, recognize patterns, and build conceptual understanding. Without language barriers, the problem is accessible to all students, regardless of skill level or language background.

HundrED has not validated this innovation

Anyone can submit their innovation to HundrED Open. All information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been checked by HundrED. Innovation page has been created by Kim Williams on March 5th, 2020
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Innovation Overview

Target Group
1 285 000
Updated on January 28th, 2021
about the innovation

What is ST Math?

“Despite my 20 students speaking 13 languages they are ALL able to play and benefit from ST Math games.” 
- Ms. Parenti, PreK Teacher, Chicago 

ST Math was created by Dr. Matthew Peterson, who, as a child, struggled with dyslexia. Because Dr. Peterson struggled with language, his ability to learn math also suffered. At the time, math education relied heavily on language and rote problem solving. Dr. Peterson, along with his research partners, explored how math education could be transformed so that a deep, conceptual understanding of math could be achievable by all. Together, they formed the nonprofit MIND Research Institute and created ST Math.  

The ‘ST’ in ST Math stands for spatial-temporal reasoning which is our innate ability to visualize moving objects through space and time. ST Math leverages this capacity by teaching math the way children  learn – visually and experientially. It removes barriers and distractions so that students of all languages, backgrounds and abilities are empowered to achieve.   

Based on over 20 years of neuroscience and education research, ST Math takes students on an interactive visual journey that is fun, engaging and deeply motivating. Students become agents of their own learning as they “play math” to solve the program’s animated puzzles. Through the immediate, informative feedback that ST Math provides, students develop math understanding, perseverance in problem solving and critical thinking skills.  

With ST Math, students build deep conceptual understanding, and schools see proven, repeatable results. ST Math has been proven to positively impact student achievement across all student subgroups and in all types of schools, with all types of teachers, when used for 60 minutes per week in grades K-1, and 90 minutes per week in grades 2-8. ST Math meets What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) quasi-experiment and ESSA Tier 2 requirements and has an efficacy portfolio that includes annual, transparent evaluations of results of ST Math school cohorts, as well as third-party validation.

In 2018, independent education research firm WestEd published the largest ever cross-state study evaluating a math edtech program on multiple state assessments. The study showed schools that consistently used ST Math outgrew similar schools in statewide math proficiency rank by 14 percentile points.

Beyond improving math proficiency scores, ST Math allays the math anxiety that many students, and even some teachers, experience. Because the program is interactive, self-paced and provides progressive learning, students begin to see themselves as mathematical problem solvers as one success builds upon another. The Journal of Research on Technology in Education (JRTE) recently published a rigorous study that found students who play ST Math have higher mathematics self-beliefs than non-ST Math students.

In addition to student benefits, the professional learning component of ST Math guides educators in becoming more effective, confident math teachers and deepens their pedagogical content knowledge. 

ST Math considers the many different needs of students and gives them the tools and support they need to develop conceptual understanding. Every student deserves equitable access to learning, and ST Math works to provide all students with the skills needed for higher educational attainment and 21st century careers.  

“My kids and I LOVE using ST Math in class and at home. I have seen tremendous growth in their understanding of math and an increased ability to work through difficult problems. ST Math gives instant feedback too. The kids can see how many puzzles they’ve solved during one session and how far they’ve advanced in the syllabus. This is very exciting for them. When the kids are using ST Math, they feel like they are playing games. I love it because they are learning to think and solve in unconventional ways. All the while, they are mastering standards required for third grade, filling in missed standards, and some have advanced beyond their current grade level. ST Math has been incredibly handy during the COVID-19 pandemic too. The kids are picking up right where they left off by completing ST Math modules at home. I cannot say enough good things about ST Math. I’ve used a lot of different programs, but ST Math is by far one of my favorites.”  

- Ms. Marciniak, Parent and 3rd Grade Teacher, Michigan 


See this innovation in action

ST Math Makes a Big Difference for Tier 3 Students in Madison
Madison Primary School’s mission, and all of Madison County Public Schools', is to provide a student-centered and community-supported school division, and ensure a superior education through innovative practice in a changing world. Their motivation to innovate led them on a search to find a program that could make a difference for their Tier 3 students, who require more individualized instruction in order to address specific learning gaps. “We wanted to address problem solving,” Jessi explained. “Problem solving was a struggle for our students on the universal test, classroom work, and assessments. We were seeing it especially with our students who struggled with math. We wanted to provide an additional layer of support for Tier 3 instruction that would supplement some of the independent work that they couldn’t complete successfully on their own—and would also be engaging and fun for them.”Prior to her arrival at Madison Primary, Jessi taught third grade in Indiana. It was there she first encountered ST Math and saw the difference it made for her students. When she moved across state lines, Jessi brought her love for ST Math with her. And when she and Mike examined the needs of their students, she suggested ST Math. Read the full article:
New RCT Study Shows ST Math Boosts Students’ Self-Beliefs
Can a game change how you feel about math? The answer is yes, and the research proves it. The Journal of Research on Technology in Education (JRTE) recently published a rigorous study that found students who play ST Math have higher mathematics self-beliefs than non-ST Math students.  A Rigorous Study of Self-Beliefs The randomized controlled trial (RCT) study - Impact on mathematics self-beliefs from a mastery-based mathematics software - was a joint effort between researchers from the University of Delaware, North Carolina State University, WestEd, and the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing at UCLA.Read the full article:
Adaptive and Supportive Learning With ST Math
When playing ST Math, students learn to adapt at the point of learning. This happens because the type of adapting I am talking about is natural, authentic, and done through the learning process by the student. It is not reliant on computer algorithms, but instead leverages what naturally occurs in our brains known as the perception-action cycle.Read the full article:
The Science of Spatial-Temporal Mathematics
Despite the fact that math education in this country relies almost exclusively on language-heavy methods of teaching and learning, research has shown again and again that a visual approach to conveying mathematical concepts can be highly effective. And with new innovations in technology, we can go beyond a purely visual approach, by showcasing ideas using spatial-temporal methods that provide an even deeper level of impact.   Read full article:


Achievements & Awards

February 2020
Research-Based Design Product Certification | Digital Promise
June 2019
US Patent for Spatial-Temporal Teaching Approach
June 2019
Best Mathematics Instructional Solution for Grades PreK-8-2019 | SIIA CODiE Award
June 2019
Best Overall Technology Solution | 2019 SIIA CODiE Award

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