learn / 2015

CREATE Project

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by The University Corporation

The CREATE Project is helping math teachers design lessons that are both intuitive and engaging for their students. Using a new app developed at CSUN, students can learn math through interactive activities that guide them toward their own discoveries of the math concepts. Teaching with this new app will help teachers focus on getting through to their kids, rather than just get through a textbook.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • City of Los Angeles
  • LAUSD

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Implement a pilot or new project

How will your proposal improve the following “Learn” metrics?

  • HS student proficiency in English & Language Arts and Math
  • Academic Performance Index* scores

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to learn.

At CSUN, the CREATE Project is helping teachers help their students learn math in a whole new way that is both intuitive and engaging. Using a new app developed by CSUN, teachers can make learning more interactive and dynamic by strategically guiding students toward making their own discoveries of various math concepts. The app, unlike static pages in a textbook, will allow students to explore and see connections between different ways to represent math ideas. If they want to explore how much money they can earn or how many songs they can download, they can see it visually at their fingertips. Using the app, teachers can work in teams to plan the next day’s lesson, focusing on student learning and not just getting through a textbook.

The app will also be a transformative tool for teachers. It will help them design and implement lesson activities that focus on exploring the relationships between various representations of math concepts and real-world applications. Teachers will be able to work collaboratively to ensure students understand by creating lessons that meet the learning needs of all their students.

The app design is based on lesson activities developed from previously funded work, which has led to significantly higher student scores on state test scores in mathematics. These students were from low-income, primarily Hispanic communities in Los Angeles. With the app as an additional resource, the Project Director expects students will post even higher standardized test scores in math.

The Project Director is Dr. Ivan Cheng, a faculty member in the CSUN Michael D. Eisner College of Education. Over the past 5 years, he was awarded grants from both the State of California Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Education to support teachers in making math accessible for all students.

Dr. Cheng’s goal is to make sure every student gets quality instruction in math and that every teacher is supported in providing quality instruction for their students. Funding is needed to provide training to help more teachers get through to their students.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

Dr. Cheng will work with the CSUN Center for Assessment, Research and Evaluation (CARE) to evaluate the impact of the CREATE Project on student achievement. Dr. Cheng will answer the following evaluation questions:

  1. What is the impact of the app on student learning?
  2. To what extent do teachers engage in use of the app in their practice during the year?
  3. What barriers to implementation are identified and what are the lessons learned? This evaluation will guide improvement in the design of the app and in the training provided for the teachers. It will also provide important data to improve math education across the nation.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support