About 5280 Math

5280 refers to the number of feet in a mile. I chose the name 5280 Math to suggest the idea of "mile-high" math—adventurous mathematics that takes students and teachers to new heights of understanding as it challenges!

5280 Math is dedicated to providing resources and support for talented middle and elementary school math students and their schools, teachers, and parents. The focus is on meeting talented students' needs by developing a deep understanding of challenging concepts, which enhances students' ability to retain, transfer, apply, and appreciate mathematical knowledge. It builds a foundation for long-term success and nurtures students' passion for math.

This website contains an ever-expanding collection of classroom activities along with tools and strategies to support teachers' work. There are sample questions from activities in my Advanced Common Core Math Explorations books for middle school as well as some complete projects for grades K - 8. I am currently collecting student work samples and videos of classroom instruction that model an approach to teaching built around students' ideas and insights. In addition, you will find suggestions for books and links to websites that offer wonderful opportunities to develop students' knowledge and passion for math.

Finally, you will find information here about professional development, consulting, and speaking services that I offer in order to help schools and districts build deeper conceptual understanding into their approach to meeting the needs of their talented math students.   

I welcome your input on this site and would love to hear about resources you know of that support these goals!




About Me

My early teaching career was spent working with college students who had been unsuccessful in high school math. I learned from this experience that when students struggle with mathematics, it is usually due a lack of confidence and unrealistic, counterproductive beliefs about what math is and how we learn it. I discovered that virtually any student with the proper support, sufficient time, and some determination is able to achieve mathematical understanding.

For the past twenty years or so, my professional life has centered around teaching math to talented elementary and middle school students. I have learned that in order to teach math well, I need first to understand how students are thinking and then to help them learn to think for themselves.  

Over the past six years, I have been writing challenging mathematical activities for elementary and middle school levels, sharing them with students, teachers, and parents, coaching elementary and middle school math teachers, and speaking at conferences.  I am currently writing a series of books, Advanced Common Core Math Explorationsfor Prufrock Press to provide engaging and meaningful mathematical challenges for middle school students and teachers. I am also working directly with schools and districts to build depth and challenge into programming and instruction for talented math students. (To learn more about this, please see the Professional Development tab on the menu above.)

In my free time, I love to read, hike, and play piano. I have an adult daughter and son who are the joys of my life. I have lived and worked in Minnesota for many years and have recently returned to my original home state of Colorado.

Jerry Burkhart



I believe...

  • Everyone can understand and enjoy math.
    Math is the study of patterns. It is everywhere around us, and it involves creativity and imagination as well as logic and skill.
  • Meaningful learning occurs gradually over time.
    We learn math best by making sense of it and by building on what we already understand.
  • Teaching involves learning from students.
    We teach math best by asking questions, listening to students, and helping them learn to think for themselves.