Math Core Tools is a project from Western Michigan University that meets the urgent need of providing mathematical tools that students can use as they explore and learn mathematical concepts that are aligned with the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSSM). The developers have repurposed and modified tools originally designed for an NSF-funded curriculum project (e.g., Core-Plus Mathematics), creating a suite of tools that supports student learning of mathematics regardless of the curricula choice. The designers provide exemplary lessons illustrating how the software can be used in the spirit of the new CCSSM.

The goal of the project is to provide easy access to core mathematical tools that help students visualize and manipulate mathematical objects. The tools promote mathematical modeling, representing ideas, calculating, decision making, and communicating mathematics related to Algebra, Geometry, and Statistics. The tools are available to all learners and teachers through the web site of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). The web site includes feedback loops for teachers to provide information about the tools. By using the NCTM website, the tools can be downloaded for use by teachers and students. The dedicated portal on the NCTM website allows supervisors to use the tools in professional development, teachers to use the tools as an integral part of a lesson, and students to use the tools for exploring, conjecturing, and communicating mathematics.

Project Report

Democratization of Access to Mathematical and Statistical Software Outcome: Curriculum and software developers from Michigan State University and Western Michigan University, in collaboration with the Core-Plus Mathematics Project, have produced a suite of interactive mathematical and statistical software tools that are freely available at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics website ( The software and accompanying website content are designed to help high school teachers and their students meet the new Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. Impact/benefits: Core Math Tools provides a solution to the problems of finance, access, and equity in realizing the promise that technology provides for improving school mathematics learning. Teachers and students can access and use the software online in mathematics classrooms, in school and local libraries, at home, or at any other place that offers Internet access. The software can be freely downloaded to a user’s school or home computer and is self-updating whenever connected to the Internet. Since the launch of Core Math Tools in April 2012, there have been over a quarter million CMT site visits. Explanation: Core Math Tools is a suite of Java-based software tools that include general purpose tools­–a spreadsheet, a computer algebra system (CAS), interactive (dynamic) geometry, data analysis, and simulation tools­–together with more topic-focused Custom Apps and Advanced Apps for triangle congruence and similarity, data modeling, linear programming, 3D visualization, contour mapping, and more. Core Math Tools is unique in providing a single linked tool set that supports the full range of contemporary high school mathematics. The design promotes the important mathematical practice of selecting and strategically using software tools.

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Western Michigan University
United States
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