5/18/11

TOS Review: Mad Dog Math

maddoglogoOne of the fun things about the Review Crew is finding products that I never would have found on my own.  Mad Dog Math-At Home is one of those products.  Mad Dog Math is available in two formats: pencil & paper or interactive software.  As a member of the TOS Crew, I received the software with a 12 week license.

MadDog

Mad Dog Math is different from other math drill programs we’ve used.  Most of the drills we’ve done have focused on adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing by the same number.  For example all the problems in a set will have +2 (3+2, 4+2, 7+2 etc). Instead,  Mad Dog Math uses “Fact Families”.   The fact family for the number 3 would include these facts:  0+3, 1+2,  3+0, 2+1, 3-0, 3-2, and 3-1.  This is an aspect of the program that I love.

The Fact Families approach is not the only thing that sets this drill program apart.  This second difference is how I got my reluctant tween daughter to try the program.

“Do I have to? It reminds me of every other math drill sheet I’ve ever been forced to do.”  whined my 12 year old, TailorBear.  “Come here,”  I said. “Let me show you something different about this one.”

I sit in the computer chair and she sits on the floor.  I open the program, click on log in and type in her name.  I immediately click on the Challenge Tab and choose Kennel Trouble. I show her the boxes.  The Kennel Trouble Challenge asks her to fill in a chart using two step operations.  The one we did together asked her to add, then multiply by 11.

Here’s a screen shot of what I mean:

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So for the first box you would add 3+7 and then multiply by 7.  She then asked me to move so she could try it.  Gradually, she began to explore other parts including the Mutt Math challenge, which include all four operations and require the student to fill in a missing number. But it isn’t just mixed operations. She maintains that the best part is the Kennel Trouble which is her favorite.

Here is what Mutt Math looks like:

Mutt Math

 In addition to the Challenge Level, there are 3 other levels.  Levels 1 and 2 cover addition and subtraction.  At level 1, you drill fact families but in Level 2 you have missing addends for addition and for subtraction the Fact Families are Zero to Six,  Seven to Nine and then individual numbers Eleven through Eighteen.  For 11 and up you will see all the problems have the same minuend (11-7, 11-0, 11-4). At Level 3 you will master multiplication and division.

My thoughts?  Overall I really like this product because it breaks the facts down into small bite sized chunks that make it easier to master.  I like that even within each level you have “levels” with different timing options.  I could use “No Time Limit” for Supergirl to practice the 0-3 families and challenge both Tailorbear and Turtlegirl to increase their speed by having them drill the 30 second time option.

I did not like that I had to log in as the student to check progress.  I didn’t like that the Log In had to be typed in each time and if you mistyped your name you would end up as a new person.  I would like to see a drop down list to pick a name with an option to “add new name”.   Supergirl also struggled with the vertical presentation of the problems.   Overall, though I think this is an excellent way to drill Math facts.  I agree with Turtlegirl: “I like seeing how fast I can get them right.”  She says “it’s good for drilling and I wish I had this when I was younger.”

Mad Dog Math is only available for the PC but it is available for both 32 Bit and 64 Bit operating systems.  You can download a free trial (only the first fact family in each of the three levels is enabled in the free trial version) HERE.   Starting price for this software is $19.99 for a one year license.  For more details on purchasing options click HERE.

Please click on the banner below to read what my fellow crewmates had to say about Mad Dog Math-At HomePhotobucketAll information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.

Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I received a 12 week license of Mad Dog Math free of charge to review. This review is my honest opinion with, hopefully, enough detail as to why I liked or did not like a product so that my readers can make an informed decision. I received no compensation.

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