Frequently Asked Questions

About Open Up Resources

What is Open Up Resources?

Open Up Resources is a nonprofit developing the highest quality core curricula available to districts, provided for free as Open Educational Resources (OER) to promote educational equity. We partner with expert authors to develop and publish superb core programs, and we support implementations with essential services like high-quality professional development, digital and print materials, manipulative kits, and integrations with LMS systems. Our mission is to provide students and educators with equal access to rigorous, standards-aligned core materials. Learn more about us here.

Are Open Up Resources curricula core programs or supplements?

Our materials are designed for full-course use as a core program to support an aligned, coherent progression within and across grades.

What role does Open Up Resources play in curriculum development?

Check out “How We Raise the Bar for Curriculum Development” here.

What grades levels and subjects do your curricula cover?

We currently offer Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math and EL Education K–5 Language Arts. Recently we announced two more curricula in development, and we plan to continue expanding our offerings over time.

About Open Educational Resources (OER)

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

OER are freely available materials that can be downloaded, edited, and shared to better serve all students. OER license types vary: some OER allow free download and use, while others also allow adaptation. We publish our curricula with a CC-BY license—the most accommodating license—which lets users distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon our work, as long as they credit us for the original creation. Learn more about OER here.

Why do you publish your core programs for free as OER?

Publishing our programs as OER honors our organization’s commitment to social justice. We believe all students deserve a superb, equitable education; providing our curricula for free as OER ensures maximum impact and easier adoptions for districts across the country.

To support as many districts as possible, including those who do not have a 1:1 digital program in place, we offer low-cost print options for districts who wish to use hard-copy editions of our curricula.

We also acknowledge that the most essential ingredient to a successful implementation is a high-quality professional development support system. That’s why we also provide a broad array of professional learning opportunities.

I thought OER was supplemental material—is this really a core curriculum?

Yes! We release comprehensive core curricula.

How can I know that something free is still high-quality?

We agree with top district leaders: regardless of the cost of curriculum, quality is the benchmark. Learn how we partner with expert authors to raise the bar for curriculum here.

Districts deserve third-party quality assurance; in addition to our own review processes, we submit all our materials for review by nonprofit curriculum review site EdReports. The EL Education curriculum has received top marks from EdReports as well as Tier 1 reviews from the state of Louisiana. Reviews of Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math gave it near-perfect marks, making it the highest-rated middle school series for mathematics and the only one to meet EdReports’ high expectations for standards alignment and usability.

How does Open Up Resources make money?

We’re a nonprofit organization. Our goal is improving teaching and learning, rather than profit; as our CEO recently told The Wall Street Journal, “We would like nothing more than to change the [curriculum] market to focus on learners’ needs rather than shareholder value.”

In order to sustain our operations, including continuous improvement of our curricula, a small portion of the revenue generated from our optional services goes to support our organization.

How much will my district save using OER?

While the curriculum is free, educators know that implementing a new core program requires an investment. We provide more detail on the savings you can expect from OER curricula here.

Professional Development and Implementation Support

What are your PD options?

Open Up Resources offers ongoing professional development to school systems implementing its curricula. Our PD sessions fall along a continuum of services, meeting teachers where they are in the development of their professional practice; this scaffolded approach to professional learning establishes and builds on educators’ prior knowledge. We tailor professional learning and support recommendations to each district’s schedule, staffing, and delivery needs.

Contact us to discuss our professional learning options.

Do districts have to print student or teacher materials?

Not at all! We meet you where you are on the digital continuum:

  • Paperless edition for 1:1 classrooms
  • Low-cost print and shipping options available for non-digital classrooms
  • Integrated with common Learning Management Systems and Microsoft OneNote

Orders and Purchasing

How do I place an order for print materials or professional development?

Contact us: we’re here to help!

How can I track my shipment?

If you need assistance tracking a shipment for an existing order, please contact us.

Do you take credit cards?

Yes, we do! Contact us to discuss the details of your order.


What are the hardware/software requirements for using your curricula?

Our curricula are accessible on any device via your web browser, and we are compatible with all recent version of Safari, Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer.

Do you sync with my Learning Management System (LMS)?

There’s a good chance we do! We integrate with most major LMS systems via Common Cartridge (LTI). Let us know which LMS you’re using and we’ll discuss our integration.

Do you integrate with any technologies or applets (i.e., Desmos)?

We do! The digital edition of our math curriculum includes GeoGebra and Desmos applets developed explicitly for our program.

Illustrative Mathematics 6–8 Math

Who authored your middle school math curriculum?

Our curriculum is authored by Illustrative Mathematics, led by noted mathematician and standards author Bill McCallum. The Illustrative Mathematics team has extensive experience with materials creation based on years of providing free K–12 supplemental materials and resources. Learn more.

How long are lessons?

Each lesson is designed for a 50-minute class period.

How many units, lessons, and activities per grade?

Grades are broken up into units, and each unit comprises lessons:

  • Grade 6: 9 units, approximately 130 lessons
  • Grade 7: 9 units, approximately 130 lessons
  • Grade 8: 9 units, approximately 120 lessons

Every lesson includes 2–4 activities.

Does the curriculum include assessments?

Yes. The following assessments are included in every unit:

  • Pre-unit diagnostic assessments
  • Embedded formative assessments
  • Practice problems
  • End-of-unit summative assessments
  • Student self-assessments
  • Mid-unit assessments (for longer units)

Are the activities aligned to the standards?

All activities are directly aligned to standards. Each lesson is aligned by means of its activities, and the practice problems are aligned by means of the lesson. A lesson is intended to be a sequence of activities that cumulatively address the standards.

Can teachers edit the assessments?

Yes. Our curricula carry a CC BY license, which means others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon our work—including assessments—as long as they credit the authors for the original creation. Learn more about our license here.

Do you offer PD to support the curriculum?

We do! Support for teachers and district teams is an essential success factor. The student-centered classroom approach—for which our curriculum was designed—represents an impactful practice shift. To foster success, we offer a comprehensive suite of PD options. Learn more here.

How did you determine the sequence of the curriculum?

The order of units was chosen so that concepts can be developed in a coherent way, with a priority on covering major work of the grade as early as possible and developing skills that benefit from long-term, ongoing practice.

Why are there units dedicated to supporting work of the grade?

The supporting work of the grade provides students with more opportunity to solidify conceptual understanding and build fluency for the major work of the grade. For example: Unit 1 in sixth grade is Area and Surface Area, which is supporting work of the grade. This unit reviews arithmetic and provides a context and application for work in Units 4 and 5, Operations and Fractions.

How does the curricula integrate the Standards for Mathematical Practice (MPs)?

At the beginning of each lesson, a narrative describes the lesson’s goals and addresses how these goals will be accomplished. A similar narrative is also included in each lesson’s subsequent activities. MPs are included in these narratives, including descriptions of how students will experience or practice them.

Do you integrate with any math technologies or applets (i.e., Desmos)?

We do! The digital edition of our curriculum includes GeoGebra and Desmos applets developed explicitly for our program.

Can students take the tests online?

While our website does not include an online testing system, the curriculum is available in Common Cartridge (LTI) format, which can be uploaded into various LMS programs that facilitate online testing.

Do you have any resources for families?

Yes! Every unit in the curriculum includes a section called Family Materials, which describe in plain language the big ideas students will encounter. These resources offer an overview mathematics your child is learning, detail what to expect as the learning deepens, and include questions that promote conversation around the math.

Are the materials available in multiple languages?

Currently, the materials are only available in English. However, our content is published with a CC BY license so you can translate it to any language you wish as long as you credit the authors for the original creation. Learn more about our license here.