Prototyping Track


Teams on the Prototyping Track will design and develop learning systems that embed executive function training within high-quality math content and instruction.

We are seeking bold ideas that:

  • Are based in rigorous research on how students learn math and learn math-relevant executive function skills

  • Are focused on conceptual understanding and multi-step problem solving in math

  • Draw on educator expertise on how math is taught in real-world classrooms

  • Design for equity

  • Align with the assets and constraints of real-world classrooms

  • Leverage knowledge from designers and developers about how programs and products can achieve impact at scale

Current math learning systems do not embed executive function training opportunities into students’ math learning activities. Designing and developing equitable learning systems that build executive function skills while students learn math is a challenging goal that will require teams to work together across traditional boundaries. Prototype teams must include expertise from math learning science (both math education and math cognition), executive function research, educational equity, and math program design and development.

Our inclusive R&D approach requires a different program management approach, where our Program Director and Deputy Program Director work closely with all contributors, and actively manage and coordinate the work of the funded individuals and organizations toward our program objective.


For detailed information on how to apply, see the Call for Proposals. A synopsis follows:

Concept Notes. A team must submit a Concept Note in order to receive an invitation to submit a Full Proposal. There is an open date and a due date for Concept Notes. By submitting a Concept Note before the due date, teams may gain more time to take advantage of feedback for their Full Proposal.

There are two paths for Concept Notes, one for teams that are self-assembling and another for individuals who seek assistance in forming a team (see graphic below). There are open and due dates for applications to participate in Facilitated Team Development (see timeline). An application is required to participate in the Facilitated Team Development process.

Information shared by the EF+Math Program through the Facilitated Team Development process will be made available for the benefit of self-assembling teams. When the EF+Math team reviews a Concept Note, it will do so only on the basis of merit and not on the basis of the path taken.

Concept Note Graphic.png

Webinar recording


Applications for optional Facilitated Team Development process (due 9/19/19)

Concept Notes (due 12/11/19)


Key Dates

Concept Notes

  • Open date: August 29, 2019

  • Due date: December 11, 2019

Facilitated Team Development

  • Application open date: August 29, 2019

  • Application due date: September 19, 2019

  • Invited by: Early October, 2019

  • Virtual workshops: October, 2019

  • In-Person Workshop (Chicago, IL): November 7-9, 2019

Full Proposals

  • Invited by: January, 2020

  • Due date: February 4, 2020


Facilitated Team Development Process. This optional process is intended to enable individuals to identify team members to form new collaborations.  It is open to individuals only and not to teams. The Facilitated Team Development Process includes an online community to connect participants, virtual workshops, and an in-person workshop.

Full Proposals. Based on a review of Concept Notes, teams will be invited to submit a full proposal in January 2020 and will have approximately one month to submit their full proposal (see timeline). The Full Proposal will include a more fully articulated description of the objectives, rationale and approach described in the Concept Note as well as a project management plan.


Every student has the potential to be a powerful math learner, yet only 40 percent of 4th grade students in the U.S. are proficient or advanced in math, and the numbers go down even further in later grades. Existing math programs often support students with practice drills and show them how to apply those skills to simple math problems. However, few help students understand complex concepts or master multi-step problem solving, which are the keys to math proficiency. 

Executive function skills are the essential assets that every student has that give students agency over their attention, emotions and behavior. Executive function skills are correlated with math achievement and are particularly open to growth in grades 3-8. To learn more advanced math concepts and solve multi-step problems, students must be able to use their executive function skills to focus deeply, attend to relevant information in the face of distractors, manage the frustration and anxiety that can be provoked by challenging math problems, and think flexibly.