Lesson Plan Information

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Living Math® History Lesson Plans


Living Math® History Lesson Plans are for use by families, individuals or co-ops / groups on a self-paced basis. A single Unit of lesson plans can last from a quarter of year, to an entire year, depending on how much time you allocate to the reading and activities in the course of your weeks. 


Lessons are based on two full cycles of history, of four quarter units each, with the focal point of each lesson on an individual(s) who created influential mathematical ideas.
Cycle 1 is complete.

Cycle 2 is in process. Release dates are TBD, as a homeschooling parent of four, the timing has taken longer than expected thus far, but the first two units are expected to be completed by early 2011.  

How To Order

Four LevelsEach level of plans follows the same outline, but lists resources appropriate for four different developmental levels. As with any individualized course, grade/age guidelines are approximate.

    Primary – Designed for lower elementary grades, approximately ages 6 to 9.

    Intermediate – Designed for upper elementary grades, approximately 9 to 12.

    Advanced – This is a dual level, with resources for 13 and up, and a High School/Adult section in each lesson plan for more challenging reading and exploration.

All levels contain commentary for borderline situations, noting materials that are easier or more challenging in a given level. All have some resources suggested for parents to deepen their understanding of a topic, but the High School level will be most appropriate for a parent seriously interested in self-study. See sample plans for more information on how levels are differentiated. If you can download the samples, you will be able to download the plans. There is no limit on printing plans or activities within a family; email me for co-op or group arrangements.

A private email support list for families using the plans is available and recommended to stay informed of updates and additions.

Cost per Single Unit is $20 for a single level of a single unit, or $40 for a family wishing to use all four levels of one Unit.

A package price of single level $75 / family level $150 will be available if purchasing all four units of the cycle once (a  discount will be provided for those purchasing Unit 4 who have already purchased the first three units prior to Unit 4 release)

Co-ops or Group Use:  In a setting where a parent or teacher is using one set of plans and is only printing handouts for distribution to a class, the cost is one set of plans ($20 for one level, $40 for multiple levels) plus $5 per group participant up to a maximum of $25. Contact Julie if you have questions, or for pricing arrangements if the intent is to share the entire set of lesson plans among multiple families.

Payment Options: Paypal is one option
(Paypal email is julie@livingmath.net). Simply send payment with a description of the level and unit you want in the comments, or email me separately.

Paypal charges fees on all transactions, however, so I do accept checks through the mail, sent to:

    Julie Brennan
    P. O. Box 601731
    San Diego, CA 92190

Email julie@livingmath.net to receive download information upon sending payment.

 These lessons plans are are intended to provide a multi-level structure for home educating or afterschooling families to study math through history and related math topics in context.


Reading guides, suggested activities and online support are provided for Primary, Intermediate, Advanced and High School Levels (see Samples and book lists /comments related to reading levels). There is no need to keep up with a group schedule as lessons are self paced.

The lessons feature a biography of one or more mathematicians, with reading assignments, resources, suggested links and activities tying in with the concepts and history surrounding the individual studied. Plans include identification of the geographical origins of the person studied, historical events of the time, contemporaries, etc. The course does not have a solely Western European math history focus; Eastern contributions and contributions by women are studied.

The levels lock-step the math history personages, but the reading depth and activities will vary according to level. This is beneficial to families with multiple aged siblings for discussion, activities, reading aloud, etc. Activities are offered as they relate to the work of people studied, including the following topics: Probability, finance, geometry, number patterns and sequences, logic, and algebra, word problems, making your own problems. Yes, you can introduce and play with these topics even with early elementary children if the goal is not mastery, but exposure and familiarity. Access to one set of plans provides access to all activities, as "grade levels" do not apply to many activities.

Lessons give attention to the effect of language on math through exploring, comparing the differences in mathematical word meanings vs. other life applications. Suggested activities to discover areas where language causes mathematical confusion, such as “reducing” fractions, double negatives, etc. Activites will be suggested to explore mathematical poetry and literature, the relationship between math and music, math in nature and life.

Parental participation for the primary and intermediate levels will be necessary to get the most out of this, advanced (approximately 7th grade and up) will have clear enough instructions that parental participation would be related to assistance as needed and follow through. But some older students will gain more if a parent studies and discusses the material with them.

Primary Level (approximately 1st-3rd Grades)
Lessons for this class will consist primarily of read alouds, map / geography skills and suggested games related to the math history topics. I suggest vocabulary and other language oriented math activities. Much of the math activities in this level come from picture books used in the course.

Note re kindergarten: You are welcome to use the booklists and wait on formal lessons for kindergarten. If you feel your child is ready or has an interest in activities, however, you may want to give the plan material a try. Some families use the materials with this age and spread it out over a long period of time.

Intermediate Level (approximately 3rd - 6th Grades)
This group will also cover the math history, but with more advanced reading, discussion and activities. Similarly to the primary level, there will be suggested games and activities, but assume multiplication is conceptually understood.

Lessons include read alone and/or readaloud (some read alouds will track with the primary level), map / geography skills and weekly suggested games/activities related to the math history topics. Vocabulary and language oriented math activities will be suggested, as well as internet site based activities.

Advanced Level (approx 7th - 9th Grades)
Similar in structure to the intermediate, but with more reading at higher levels. Math levels vary, so access to all activities allows you to use activities that track with the math capability of the child.

High School
(approx. 10th and up)
The math history outline for this group will be the same, but the reading will be based more on selected adult level materials including reading excerpts from mathematics and science classes such as Euclid's Elements, Galileo's and Kepler's writings, Newton's Principia, etc. If all the challenging reading is used, this is a serious course of study in a college preparatory model. Basic elementary math skills are assumed, There is exposure to algebra, geometry, calculus, logic, etc. in exploratory context without requirement for mastery.