Sunday, February 21, 2010

Review: Math Mammoth

My Schnickelfritz and I have been doing a lot of math lately.   He's been adding, subtracting, even multiplying his little heart out.   When Math Mammoth gave us the opportunity to select which of their 75+ downloadable products we wanted to review, I chose to move away from straight equations and word problems and cover more practical living skills.  We received three worktexts from the Blue Series: U.S. Money, Measuring 1, and  Early Geometry.

U.S. Money contains 15 lessons beginning with counting coins.   The student is first introduced to dimes and pennies (probably because this most closely resembles the place value he's familiar with) and finally nickels.  It appears scanned images of actual coins are used although the dime is a little fuzzy.   After finding the values of displayed sets of coins, Fritz was then directed to use real coins to come up with the amounts shown.  He's a real kinesthetic learner so hands on stuff is always more fun.  If you don't have a lot of change around, you could draw the coins.  Quarters, half dollars, and various denominations of dollar bills are introduced in later lessons.

I would consider the worktext very thorough.  U.S. Money uses physical representations, written words (e.g. nickel, dime) and symbols (e.g. $x.xx).  There is a page of  links to various money teaching games on the internet if the student is interested in learning/playing more. 

U.S. Money costs $3.25 to download. Samples of this worktext are available here.  You may also be interested in the Canadian or European versions of Money.

Our second worktext was Measuring 1.  Fritz has always been a little confused when it came to which units are used to measure what concept and that units for different concepts can't be compared.  For example, he might ask how many miles are in a day or which is bigger, 100 feet or 2 hours?  Measuring 1 has 24 lessons covering the concepts of length,  liquid volume, weight and temperature in both U.S. and metric units.  I loved  the opening exercise:  we used  my shoes and Fritz's shoes to measure the length of the sofa.  We both used shoes, but it was six "mama shoes" or nine "Fritz shoes" long.  This lead into why we need a standard unit size.

While this is a workbook (something I usually avoid), it also provides some hands-on learning activities.  We had to find various containers throughout the house and measure how much liquid they hold.  He had to find food containers in the pantry and look at weight on the label and put them in order from lightest to heaviest.  We weighed things on the bathroom scale (note: we skipped the activity on weighing family members--I wasn't volunteering and the dog was too wiggly).   We did hit one snag in measuring length--when the concept was first introduced there were various lines on the page that we were supposed to measure.  They should have been  in whole inches but when we used our ruler we kept coming up with something like 3 5/8".  Apparently when I printed the sheets on both sides of the paper it compressed the images.   I told Fritz we would make it a rounding exercise.  You may also cut one of the sample rulers off of the page and use it for measuring as it should be compressed by the same ratio as the lines and objects.

Measuring 1 costs $4.50 to download.  A free sample is available here.

We've just started the Early Geometry worktext.  It covers basic shapes, right angles, parallel lines, symmetry, area, perimeter, and solids.   We jumped into the lessons on perimeter and area as it ties in with his regular math curriculum.  The shapes for area are made of  blocks on a grid so if the child can't multiply, he can count the blocks.  I have scanned the other exercises and I'm impressed with how advanced the material is.  Rather than just use terms like "corners" if teaches "vertices."  Instead of limiting 4-sided objects to squares and rectangles, it covers parallelograms and other quadrilaterals. 

A sample of Early Geometry is available  here.  It worktext costs $2.75 to download.

If you find you enjoy Math Mammoth worktexts, as we did, you may be interested in their package deals.  You can buy all the blue lessons in pdf download ($70) or on CD ($75). You do have permission to make copies of the sheets for each student so only one purchase of each text is necessary.

You can read what my fellow crewmate thought of Math Mammoth and the worktexts they reviewed by clicking here.  

Disclaimer: I received free downloads of the three worktexts mentioned here for the purposes of completing this review.  I received no other compensation.


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