Differentiation – Dimensions Math

Dimensions Math PK–5 contains a lot of content and built-in differentiation. We intentionally included so much to reduce or eliminate the need for supplementary material. Please note, students are NOT expected to complete ALL the problems and activities offered in the curriculum. This applies whether your student is struggling, on level, or advanced. The abundance is there for you to pick based on your student’s needs.

If math isn’t your student’s strong point, know that while Dimensions Math is a rigorous program overall, it can be used flexibly to suit students of most levels. Check out the tips in our next post for differentiation for struggling students.

If your student excels in math, you’ll find that Dimensions offers plenty of challenging problems and openings for a more expansive approach to learning math. See our post on differentiation for advanced students for suggestions.


Here are some suggestions for how to use Dimensions Math with a student who is having a hard time in math. Simple things like going at a slower pace and reviewing as needed make a big difference, but we have more specifics below.

An always relevant reminder: Students are not expected to complete all the problems and activities offered in the curriculum. The abundance is there for you to pick what’s best for your student.

Tips for struggling students:

  • Make sure they are starting at the appropriate level by giving placement tests (free on our site)
  • Provide more guidance for Think, or proceed directly to Learn
  • Allow students to use manipulatives for more problems in Do
  • When different methods are supplied in Learn, determine which method works best for the student and focus on that method
  • Assign fewer problems from Do and the Practices for students to do independently, skipping the later problems (they get progressively harder)
  • Expect less use of mental math strategies, allow students to use the standard algorithm more
  • Use the Basics in the Workbook as a reteach opportunity, guiding students through it
  • Assign fewer problems from the Practice in the Workbook when there are a lot of problems, particularly the later problems
  • Skip the Challenge section in the Workbook
  • Use Tests as a review resource, selecting appropriate problems for practice, rather than assigning and grading
  • Skip the BrainWorks in the Teacher’s Guide
  • The Home Instructor’s Guide has additional suggestions for struggling students


Dimensions Math is well-suited for advanced students. As always with this curriculum, pick and choose what your student needs, and don’t worry about doing it all. Try the tips below for creating the best experience for your student who is excelling in math.

Tips for working with advanced students:

  • Provide less guidance for Think
  • Expect students to need manipulatives less
  • Expect that students will come up with some of their own methods beyond the ones in Learn, and encourage them to do so
  • Spend less time on lessons that are reviewing material from earlier levels
  • Skip the Basics in the Workbook
  • Have students attempt the Challenge in the Workbook
  • Include the BrainWorks in the Teacher’s Guide
  • Administer Test B from the Tests books
  • The Home Instructor’s Guide has additional Enrichment suggestions and mental math content for advanced student