Monday, September 30, 2013

Math Mammoth ~ Light Blue Series ~ Review

I love math.  I'm a nerd.  It's my favorite subject to teach and I proudly admit that I even do Algebra for fun on my own.  There, I said it.  Don't judge me. 

Hello, my name is Doreen, and I'm a math junkie.

So, when the opportunity came up for me to review Math Mammoth, you know I was first in line.  I chose the Light Blue Series because it is the complete curriculum and I wanted to get a true feel for the comprehensive offerings of the product.  I selected Grade 6 because I tutor a child in math who is working on that grade level and, well, I thought she would make a great guinea pig for my experiments.

First, let's take a brief look at your product options:

  • Light Blue Series - full elementary math curriculum for grades 1-6; Each grade level in the curriculum consists of two student worktexts (A and B), and supportive materials, which include answer keys, tests, and additional cumulative reviews. Full Set Download $34 ;  Printed about $58 - downloads set to increase by 10% as of October 2013.
  • Blue Series - worktexts or units on specific topics for grades 1-8. "Worktext" means that the books contain both explanations of the concepts and lots of varied problems. It is like a textbook and workbook combined. Each unit only covers a few of topics. $2-7 - set to increase by 5% in October 2013.  This is an excellent selection for extra review, summer skill maintenance, or to supplement with a different curriculum.
  • Golden Series - collection of worksheets for grades 3-8.    Each collection contains 120-150 worksheets and each worksheets concentrates on one topic.  Grade Bundles $12 - 12.50  This is also a great selection for extra review, summer skill maintenance, or to supplement with a different curriculum.
  • Review Workbooks - grades 1-5.  The topics of these books correspond to the Light Blue Series. Each download $5.50; Printed $10.50
  • Make It Real Learning Workbooks - grades 3-12.   The workbooks contain activities or problem situations taken from real-life, with real data. Some examples of the situations are: cell phone plans, autism, population growth, cooking, borrowing money, credit cards, life spans, music downloads, etc. etc. $4.99 each
OK...I received the Light Blue Series for Grade 6, so that is what I'll be writing about.  You can see all of the products and categories listed above at the Math Mammoth website by clicking HERE.  But, if you are interested in what I have to say.....follow me!

I found the Grade 6 to be "spot on" for content.  Here is a list of the concepts covered:

  • four operations, whole numbers, place values
  • introduction to exponents
  • ratios, proportions, scaling
  • fractions, decimals
  • percents, integers, basic geometry
  • statistics, probability
I love the mastery method of learning/teaching.  The curriculum I have used for the past 4 years for my (now) 8th grade son uses this method and he has excelled.  We also love the worksheet style.  My son was never into the manipulatives for math.  If your child is a strong kinesthetic learner, then Math Mammoth may not be the best choice for him.

The printed books come in black and white.  This surely has helped keep the cost so affordable.  The download version has lots of color.  So, if this is important to you, it is!  You can then choose to print in black and white or color.  That brings me to my next point.  We don't use internet based or software based curriculum.  My son and I both prefer to have a book in front of us.  Now, you could print the curriculum and three ring bind it, but there are over 200 pages for each book and that is a whole lot of ink.  You could just print what you need to keep the cost down.  I would imagine that a child could work right from the computer, as well, and just show his work and answers in a notebook.  There is definitely flexibility there.

The download is large and takes some time to do, but the process was not too complicated.  The software itself is very user friendly and easy to navigate.  I like two features in particular.

Notice on the left side of the picture how there is a separate scroll/navigation menu with pictures of the pages.  It is easy just to quickly scroll through to select a page you want to see, click on it, and BAM, there it is.  

Also, the Table of Contents makes it easy to locate a concept you may want to get to quickly.  I'm all for easy and this feature does that.  At the beginning of each book, there are also many clickable links for additional resources and games. 

Here are some additional points that you may find interesting:
  • free math assessment test to get a suggested starting point
  • free samples
  • aligned with Common Core Standards
  • designed by Maria Miller - teacher turned housewife/homeschooler
  • Spanish and South African versions available
Overall, I liked this program.  I don't like downloads or curriculum used on the computer, so that prevented me from using it as I fully wanted or intended to.  But, I loved the methodology.  If I were to use Math Mammoth, I would definitely get the printed version.

Hey, don't just listen to me!  Check out all my fellow reviewer peeps at Mosaic Reviews to see what they have to say.  I've read several of them and the opinions and experiences are quite varied!  Check it out HERE.

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