Top education organizations partner to launch a free nationwide program, aligning math and virtual robotics with Common Core standards

Posted May 14, 2020

This program aims to empower every student to become a math designer with engaging activities for kids, parents and teachers

Chapel Hill, N.C. (May 14, 2020) — A national coalition of educational content creators, professional development organizations and EdTech platforms have come together to help revitalize this math school year with the U.S. Challenge, a free online gamified program that paces first- through eighth-grade students through Common Core-aligned math topics. 

The program will consist of four major stages: a five-week summer program featuring fun math and virtual robotics activities; a five-week booster program to recap the previous school year; a 12-week fall program to engage parents, teachers and students while schools reopen; and a 12-week spring program to continue and deepen math and robotics learning.

The U.S. Challenge is an initiative hosted on the Polyup platform, a 3D math simulation playground where students will be guided through a weekly math topic and curriculum based on their grade level. Khan Academy videos and Computer-Using Educator (CUE) materials have been incorporated into these activities so that students can learn topics before applying them in the interactive playground. By providing a wide variety of activities and the chance for students to build and share their own “machines” they create, the U.S. Challenge will be an equitable and accessible solution for students at all levels.

Parents and teachers will also have the opportunity to share ideas, connect and learn together through weekly live streams on the Participate platform and a learning analytics platform run by Computational Thinking Alliance (CTA).

The goal of the U.S. Challenge is to boost student math achievement across all socioeconomic groups and proficiency levels by one-fourth to three-quarters of a grade level as predicted by research and prior results using the Polyup platform. To maximize accessibility and connectivity, this program will be optimized for web browsers on any laptop, tablet or mobile device. Additionally, students and classrooms that participate in the challenge will be eligible for different prizes with education-themed winnings.

The U.S. Challenge is not just a combination of online learning platforms and resources; it combines student, parent and teacher agency in a structured, paced and guided environment so that students effectively learn throughout the summer. The ultimate goal of this initiative is to create an accessible solution that meets the needs of math and computer science education in a post-COVID world.

The partner organizations involved are CTA, CUE, DonorsChoose, Participate, Polyup and November Learning. If you are interested in becoming a partner or sponsor, contact [email protected] or [email protected] to get involved.



About Computational Thinking Alliance
CTA is an alliance of nonprofit and for-profit professional development organizations, digital platform providers, and educational institutions to institute computational thinking as an important educational asset in all schools across the world.

About CUE
CUE transforms teaching by connecting educators with ideas, resources, and each other to use technology to prepare all students to succeed in a rapidly changing world. CUE envisions a future in which all students have access to technology-empowered learning that prepares them to solve real problems, seize opportunities, and improve their communities and the world.

About DonorsChoose
DonorsChoose makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need, moving us closer to a nation where students in every community have the tools and experiences they need for a great education.  Since its founding in 2000, DonorsChoose has raised more than $950 million for America's classrooms. More than 4.2 million people and partners have funded 1.6 million projects on the site.

About November Learning
Led by Alan November, a veteran educator and a leader in transforming teaching and learning, November Learning is filled with passionate educators and school leaders. It is our mission to empower educators to expand their own boundaries of what is possible.

About Participate
Participate combines your favorite parts of social media and online learning to connect community members, grow organizational impact and support scalable learning opportunities, all in one place. Trusted by school districts, nonprofits and education organizations around the world, Participate takes existing professional learning initiatives and builds a digital community that provides value for your community members and meaningful impact for your organization.

About Polyup
Polyup is a new learning paradigm that lets students build their own math projects and simulations in an interactive, virtual 3D space. Students can play with numbers, operations, and shapes to learn arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, robotics, AI, and more.