By Kirby Schoephoerster

Movement – consistent and structured – helps students realize the freedom inherent in learning, as well as the joy of being physically active throughout the school day. The National Math Foundation serves communities across the United States by providing opportunities for children to reach their wellness goals and fullest academic potential. We aim to create far-reaching networking opportunities between teachers and administrators. Through the foundation, educators collaborate, share ideas, and present techniques about favorite approaches to movement-based learning. We strive to invest all of our efforts and resources in our young students, who are our future mathematicians, financial experts, engineers, scientists, and leaders.

Math Literacy=Financial Literacy

The intersection of STEM and financial literacy, social-emotional learning, and physical activity is at the heart of what we do. The principles of finance are grounded in a solid understanding of mathematics. Like mathematics, the path to financial literacy and success isn’t so much a lengthy one as it is a cumulative one. Every step of the journey from money management to paying taxes to trading stocks builds on previous financial fundamentals; in order to effectively manage money, students need to understand money’s worth, and in order to understand money’s worth, students need to understand basic mathematics, particularly multiplication. When students understand this fundamental concept and obtain math fact fluency, their self-confidence soars! More importantly, the potential for a “fixed” mindset towards financial literacy and math in general diminishes as they grow older and face higher level concepts!

Teachers are struggling to get students where they need to be in their math understanding. This is in part due to the pandemic and the two-year transition to virtual learning. This is also partly due to the majority of students having anxiety about learning math or finding it inaccessible in a traditional classroom setting. Although multiplication is typically taught in 3rd grade, the “COVID slide” has set students behind in their mastery of this concept; math teachers are currently witnessing a deep lack of fundamental knowledge from their students, particularly those who are socially and culturally marginalized.

If these students are to become financially literate, we need to first make sure that they are mathematically literate!

Find us in the Jump$tart Clearinghouse!

Our approach to solve this problem is a nationwide math program that focuses on getting students to grade level in their multiplication skills using tools and teaching strategies that are more inclusive to the diversity of our student populations – tools that embrace children’s natural inclination to move and be physically active. The National Math Foundation has partnered with Math & Movement to lead the Mighty Multiplication Project to support the complexity and imaginative nature that defines every student through the utilization of multiple teaching and learning modalities. In particular, multi-sensory and multimodal strategies that incorporate active movement – consistent and structured – helps students become more engaged and passionate contributors to their online and in-person math classrooms.

The purpose of the Mighty Multiplication Project is to better understand the relationship between math fact fluency and conceptual understanding using physical activity as a moderator. Multiplication is a foundational mathematical skill and must be utilized in order to solve various higher order mathematical and financial literacy concepts. Adding physical movement to current teaching strategies bridges the gap for many struggling students and provides a new way for all students to become more engaged learners in the classroom.

Based on the results of our Virginia pilot, as well as recent research on the connection between movement and student learning, we expect to see this movement-based learning program increase student achievement, assessment scores, and students’ self-confidence with multiplication and division on a broad scale. Because the program will require students to move their bodies as they practice their multiplication skills, students will also engage regularly in physical activity, which will, in turn, increase their physical, mental, and emotional health.

If you are interested in participating in this national research-driven project, visit or email us at to request an interest form!

Kirby Schoephoerster

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