Teaching 10-Year-Olds to Enjoy High School Math: A Repeatable & Scalable Method - BC-368

Preferred Disciplines: Cognitive Science, Math Education, User Experience Design. Master’s or PhD level.
Project length:  4 to 6 months (1 unit/intern)
Desired start date: As soon as possible
Location: TBD, but in Metro Vancouver
No. of Positions: 3
Preferences: Since the work with subjects (students) must be in-person, all the research and work will have to happen in Metro Vancouver. Everyone will need to be located in the Vancouver area for the time of the internship. Language : English
Company: Bravo Math Initiative


About Company:

My name is Andrew Uyeno. I've been a full-time, self-employed math tutor since 2010. Building on my prior work, I'm launching the Bravo Math Initiative, a nascent math education startup aiming to revolutionize education through cognitive science, usability, and rapid iteration.

Project Description:

An interdisciplinary team consisting of a cognitive scientist, a math teacher who is completing graduate studies with a focus on math education, an experienced math tutor [me], and a usability specialist will tackle a major problem in math education: basic number sense and introductory algebra.

Math is the subject students tend to dislike and struggle with most. Within math, the worst bottlenecks are whole number arithmetic and place value, rational numbers (especially fractions), and introductory algebra.

The disciplines of cognitive science, rapid prototyping, and user experience offer many tools to increase enjoyability, effectiveness, and adoption of learning activities. By combining those tools with the practical expertise of math educators, the Bravo Math Initiative aims to develop lessons in which practically any student can, with 5 months of twice-weekly lessons, master and enjoy all three of those areas. This would be a major breakthrough in math education and could produce a new norm for developing learning activities.

Background and required skills

Research Objectives/Sub-Objectives:

The main research goal is to develop and assess approximately 40 enjoyable and easily adoptable math lessons that teach:

  • Whole number arithmetic and place value
  • Rational numbers (mainly fractions, decimals, and percentages) and rational number arithmetic, and
  • Introductory algebra

These lessons would allow children to advance through approximately 7 years of BC's curriculum for number sense.

I've been tutoring for 8 years and have made substantial progress towards this goal already. It's now time for me to team up with others to complete the mission.

The secondary research goal is to determine which parts of the population are most receptive to such lessons. For example, it could be adult learners, home school students, students in the public school system, or a population I have not thought of yet.


The interdisciplinary team will rapidly prototype and iterate lessons and learning activities. Specifically, it will:

  • Administer a math lesson to a student in a 1-to-1-setting and video record the entire event
  • Watch the lesson on video together
  • Develop a better version of the lesson
  • Administer that better version of the lesson to another student (or perhaps the same student) and video record that, too
  • Repeat the above cycle several times per day

Eventually, we will have a sequence of lessons in which the normative behavior of a student is to learn voraciously.

If time allows, the team will test and develop these lessons further with groups of students and then in classrooms, with an aim of making the lessons easier for teachers to adopt.

Expertise and Skills Needed:

  • Math Teacher, preferably with expertise in teaching math around the kindergarten – grade 4 levels.
  • Cognitive Scientist. Experience with (a) live subjects being video recorded for research and/or business purposes, (b) recruiting live subjects, and (c) applying cognitive science in education.
  • User-Testing and/or Rapid Prototyping Specialist. Expertise in formal user tests, usability, and best practices for rapid iteration of products and services. 


For more info or to apply to this applied research position, please

  1. Check your eligibility and find more information about open projects.
  2. Interested students need to get the approval from their supervisor and send their CV along with a link to their supervisor’s university webpage by applying through the webform or directly to Andrea Globa at agloba(a)mitacs.ca