Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Math Essentials

Mastering Essential Math Skills is a line of products that gets right down to business.  They review skills, give you adequate, but not laborious practice on these skills, give you space to work out your problems and a special place to put your answers.  At the end, you have an opportunity to apply your knowledge to a life-application problem.

This month, I used Fractions with my 12 year old son.  We used another math curriculum this year, but didn't quite finish.  I had to return the curriculum to a friend (it was borrowed) and I wondered how I'd fill in the gaps with the fractions skills.  This was a good tool to help him practice identifying fractions in an illustration, writing them in their simplest form, identifying equivalent fractions, mixed numbers, improper practions and so forth.  We haven't had a chance to work through the entire book yet, but it goes all the way to reciprocals and dividing fractions. 

Mastering Essential Math Skills offers quality workbooks for Grades 4/5, Middle/High School, Decimals and Percents, Fractions, Geometry, Pre-Algebra, Problem Solving, and Whole Numbers/Integers.  These workbooks vary from $11.95 to $15.95 each and include all the solutions, a glossary and helpful  math charts in the back.

I also reviewed one of the selections from their Book/DVD sets.  Mine was "Mastering Essential Math Skills:  Pre-Algebra Concepts".  The make-up of the workbook is the same as the rest of the books.  The DVD, however, has a live professor (the creator of the company, "America's Math Teacher, Richard W. Fisher").  He has a pleasant voice and explains things in plain language.  There were a few issues with the video lessons for me.  First, the initial lesson had 4 minutes and 1 second of nothing but whiteboard on the screen as the professor explained the basics of the program.  That's a little much "nothingness" for most students.  Maybe some graphics could be added here, or maybe it could be a video of him explaining the housekeeping issues.  Also, his written instructions seem to be a tiny bit out of sync with his lecture.  There was a 3 or 4 second gap between what he was saying and what appeared on the screen.  This might be a bit confusing to some who are struggling to learn the concept. 

Other topics included in the book/DVD series are No-Nonsense Algebra, Math Skills for Grades 4/5, Middle/High School, and Pre-Algebra Concepts.  There are also some options for buying just the DVDs for multiple sets or buying three sets together.  The prices for these sets are $33.95 and go up to $89.95 for combo-packs. 

Go to to order your copies of this company's product, winners of the Intel Innovations in Teaching Award. 

Go here to see what other Crew members thought of Math Essentials.

**I was provided with a copy of the Fractions workbook and a copy of the Pre-Algebra Concepts DVD/workbook set.  No other compensation, financial or otherwise, was provided to me for my honest review.


Post a Comment