For today, I’m going to depart from pictures that I’ve taken because I just stumbled upon this very special picture above. If you’re my age and from Fort Collins, or at least if you went to my elementary school, then this image may cause a mix of nostalgia and/or nausea. For me, it’s mostly the latter.

This is one of the notorious “minicomputers” from the CSMP math program that was unleashed upon unsuspecting children on the Front Range in the early 1980s. I ranted a bit about this program a few months ago, but it was just in passing. So, I made a note in my little calendar to do some research into CSMP, and to find out whatever became of it.

As it turns out, CSMP doesn’t actually stand for “Crappy Stupid Math Program,” as we all thought. It’s actually “Comprehensive School Mathematics Program.” Evidently, it’s been decommissioned–or perhaps the correct word would be “disarmed”–and is currently no longer a threat to our world’s children.

However, there is still a group out there called the “CSMP Preservation Project” which is trying to save and reinstate CSMP. Follow this link to read more. This site has enough PDF files of “String and Minicomputer Games” to cause a former CSMP student to suffer through another acronym: PTSD. (Oh, and fun fact: Among other things, CSMP also stands for “Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy,” an advocacy group in Massachusetts).

In any case, if you didn’t take part in this program, then most likely none of this post makes any sense. But if you were in this program, I probably just either made or ruined your day, depending on how hipster and/or retro you’re feeling today.

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5 thoughts on “CSMP

  1. This is hilarious! I thought my school was the only one that used this terrible math program! I went to Guilderland schools near Albany NY. No one in my adult life can relate to my childhood struggles with mini computers, string pictures, and Eli the elephant. Nick’s way is still the only way i know how to subtract though

    • Hello LB,

      Thanks for the comment! I’m glad to hear I wasn’t the only victim of CSMP. Let me know if you want to start a support group. Out of morbid curiosity, today I once again checked out the “Galaxy of Problems” I downloaded when I first wrote this article. Needless to say, traumatic flashbacks ensued. 🙂

      Thanks again, and good luck with all your future math endeavors!


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