In order to provide a curriculum appropriate for gifted students, adjustments in both the material and learning environment may be necessary. Maker and Nielson (1995) [1]  describe such modifications in content and process.

Content Modifications

  • Students need a variety of problems to work on
  • The content of the curriculum needs to be organized around key concepts or abstract ideas, rather than some other organization (as noted by Bruner, 1960). [2]
  • Problems should be complex and students should be pushed to abstraction. 

Process Modifications

  • Promote higher levels of thinking by stressing use rather than acquistions of information. (Students continue to use information from previous Units in the current Unit they are studying.)
  • Provide open-ended questions in order to stimulate divergent thinking and to “contribute to the development of an interaction pattern in which learning, not the teacher, is the focus.”1 
  • Guide student discovery of content and encourage questions. (Problems often ask students to think about the questions of why and how.) 
  • Offer opportunities for students to express their reasoning. (Students are constantly asked to explain or justify their responses in CMP.) 
  • Make group interaction a regular part of the curriculum for gifted students to enable them to develop social and leadership skills. 

CMP is designed so that many of the modifications described by Maker and Nielson are embedded in the curriculum. Other simple modifications are possible in order support gifted students and still maintain the integrity of the curriculum. For example, Renzoulli and Reis (2003) [3] discuss the Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM), which can be used to promote challenging and high-end learning in schools. The SEM model accommodates the needs of the gifted student and offers suggestions on how to adjust the level, depth, and enrichment opportunities provided by a curriculum.

Other Features

CMP offers students rich experiences with a variety of mathematical content. Students are introduced to important areas of mathematics, such as probability, statistics, and transformational and Euclidean Geometry early in their career so that they can see the vast terrain of mathematics. The algebra strand in CMP is organized around functions, which are the cornerstone of calculus, and the structure of the real numbers, which brings coherence to the exploration of algebraic ideas.

Particular features of CMP support the mathematically gifted child. In teacher support, there are questions in the Launch–Explore–Summarize sequence labeled Going Further that teachers can pose to students who are ready to advance. In the ACE assignments, the Extensions often go beyond what was done in the classroom; they can be used as additional exercises to push students’ thinking. Along with the deep real-world mathematical situations offered in this curriculum, these features provide all students, including gifted students, challenging problems to explore each day.


 [1] Maker, C. J., & Nielson, A. B. (1995). Teaching/learning models in education of the gifted (2nd ed.). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.
 [2] Bruner, J.S. (1960). The Process of Education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
[3] Renzulli, J. S., & Reis, S. M. (2003). The schoolwide enrichment model: Developing creative and productive giftedness. In N. Colangelo, & G.A. Davis (Eds.) Handbook of gifted education (3rd ed., pp.184-203). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon