Inspired by the notion that mathematics is a universal language, ELM aims to:
- Increase the proportion of students who can select and use appropriate mathematical tools as well as understand information presented in mathematical terms;
- Increase the number of students achieving a high level of numeracy proficiency level, thus making them more likely to choose a career in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics;
- Decrease the proportion of students who experience mathematics anxiety, thus helping them to become intrinsically motivated, feel competent and be likely to self-regulate their learning of mathematics;
- Prepare students for advanced studies in math by focusing on the precursors to ideas in higher mathematics, yet remaining firmly rooted in the curriculum of Grade 1 mathematics.
ELM is organized into Themes (an overarching branch of mathematics), which are then divided into different Ideas (mathematical concepts). Each Idea has a certain number of Steps that use carefully sequenced activities to build children’s understanding of the concept.
Through ELM, children gain skills and confidence in:
Number Concept: Count, Compare, Add, Subtract, Decompose, Place Value.
Geometry: Identify shapes.
Patterns: Translate patterns.
Data: Bar graphs and tables.
Number Line: Number as displacement.
ELM provides meaningful, non-threatening audio/visual feedback. Activities are not timed and children always have access to a help button. If a child makes multiple errors in a row, ELM suggests that they ask their teacher for help. The teacher will receive notifications about which students are experiencing difficulties.
ELM uses a game-like structure in which children gradually fill in missing pieces of puzzles by completing activities. Once they complete a puzzle, they gain an animal friend trading card. Classroom observations reveal that children enjoy collecting, reading, and discussing the animal friend cards, which provide interesting information about the animal.