Though it was hard to narrow down our choices (there are so many that I like!), we finally decided on:
- Math Mammoth Place Value 3 - for third grade
- Math Mammoth Fractions and Decimals 3 - for sixth grade
- Math Mammoth The Four Operations (with a Touch of Algebra) - for fifth and sixth grade
What is Math Mammoth?Crew members were given the choice of reviewing the Light Blue Series or the Blue Series, both available for grades 1-7.
- Light Blue Series is a complete grade level curriculum. Be sure to check out the rest of the Crew reviews to find out more about these!
- Blue Series is a collection of worktexts, each focusing on a specific topic. Blue Series is great for supplemental work, remedial help, or review. Available for grades 1-7.
- Also available - International and Spanish versions
Both Light Blue and Blue Series is available as PDF files to download, and some are available in print as well.
Each file I received begins with an introduction that includes a list of websites that relate to the concept taught in that worktext. For example, the third grade Place Value 3 book has links to interactive base ten blocks, a rounding numbers with sharks game, as well as many more. Fractions and Decimals 3 has links to a game called Decimal Darts, interactive fraction models, videos, games, and much more. There were 6 pages of links in The Four Operations text! The worktexts have a review, and then end with a complete answer key. All of the texts I received have a variety of topics they cover and were exactly what I expected after reading the website descriptions. Each topic begins with instructions, the child can read these alone or you can use them to teach the new topic. You can get a good idea of what the book will include by looking through the samples on the website.
Why did we want extra math?Sure we've all heard (or thought) "I don't use anything I learned in algebra in my daily life." But here's why I care so much about math... it builds thinking skills and logical abilities. Continual learning and advancement in mathematical skills builds our problem solving skills, and that is very important as an adult. (I noticed on the Math Mammoth website that they have a Make It Real Series which utilizes activities and situations in real life. I'm interested in checking that series out as well!)
There are two types of math instruction - conceptual and procedural. Procedural methods base instruction on the steps followed to solve a problem. Conceptual methods focus on why operations work. Many people my age were taught procedural methods, and get flustered when we see children being taught conceptual methods. BUT, if a person has not learned the reasons that the procedures work, they likely have a more difficult time in upper math levels, and they have a harder time gaining those thinking skills. It's quite beneficial to learn both procedural and conceptual methods!
The math curriculum that we use is very procedural, and I refuse to switch because it's such a good program. However, I recognize that we need a bit more conceptual instruction so that my children can think through problems more efficiently. That is where Math Mammoth Blue Series really helps us. It teaches math concepts in a way my children may not have learned from their regular texts, providing them with a different way to arrive at a solution, and it helps them understand why the numbers work the way they do! At first they were better able to work problems out in their head, and later on they became faster at solving them. I feel like Math Mammoth helps my children unlock the mysteries of math.
Math Mammoth is a mastery program, meaning it teaches a concept in depth so a child can master it. This has also been helpful to us because I chose topics my children needed to focus on and learn better. Because it is a mastery program, it is perfect for supplemental work.
How did we use Math Mammoth?I chose to print the third grade text, Place Value 3, because that is the easiest way for my third grader to use it. She would sit with me as I read the instructions with her and completed the practice problems. Then she worked on her own, unless she got stuck. She completed two pages from the PDF file each day, and was able to finish the worktext in about four weeks.
My sixth grade son received two texts to work through. He found out that he could do the work on the computer by using the comment tool in Adobe Reader. This tool allows you to type information anywhere you want in a document, without changing the original text. For a sixth grade boy, that is pretty neat! He has been able to do most of the work this way, but he does print out some pages, like some pages with fractions or drawing in Fractions and Decimals 3, or long division. He could have used my drawing tablet, but he's not comfortable with it. In The Four Operations he was forced to do most of the work in his head because he wanted to work in the PDF, which is exactly what that text taught at the beginning! He does keep a scratch paper handy, some of the problems need to be written down.
I put his files in Google Drive and he opened them from whatever computer he wanted to use. When he saves them there it keeps his answers. I would then open the file on my tablet to correct his work, and I would write on a sticky note which problems he needed to check. He really enjoyed working this way and was excited to do Math Mammoth every day.
My daughter says Math Mammoth helps her understand things better, and it's easy to use. My son says it helps him learn to do problems in his head better, and it kind of helps him understand math better. His 6th grade books are longer, and he feels like since he hasn't gotten through one completely that it's still covering things he knows. But the extra practice has been great. The balance problems in The Four Operations were fun, and gave him a new way to think about pre-algebra methods.
I am very pleased with Math Mammoth Blue Series. I like using it as a supplement to help us better understand math concepts and to strengthen our skills. I feel like it would be beneficial to any child needing help on specific math concepts, whether they are home schooled or in public school. Because it is downloadable, it can be used in a variety of ways, which is appealing to many families.