Common Core math standards adopted in Iowa and in Michigan suggest that children in Grade 1 should “Understand the meaning of the equal sign.” Yet, decades of research reveals that students in Grades 3 and 4 still have difficulty understanding the equal sign as a relational symbol.

Our research is investigating how to use differentiated instruction to help children understand that the equal sign expresses a relation between two quantities. This work is particularly novel because we are trying to create a learning environment where students capitalize on information represented multi-modally.

This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. (NSF 1561122). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.