3/17/16

Making Math Fun with Math-U-See {Review}


I started using Demme Learning's Math-U-See in April of 2005. No that is not a typo. I switched to Math-U-See because BooBear really struggled with math. We've been using Math-U-See in some way ever since.  When I found out that the Schoolhouse Review Crew was given the opportunity to review the brand new Digital Packs, I knew I was going to want to write a review! Since Tailorbear is using Geometry, I chose that for her. Supergirl has been using the Beta Level Digital Pack.


Let me start by giving a brief explanation of how Math-U-See works. This home school math curriculum is not grade level based but rather is organized by skill level. It uses a mastery rather than spiral based approach to learning. Students master one concept and then move to the next concept.

The goal of Math-U-See is to "help produce confident problem solvers who enjoy the study of math." They believe that the study of math shouldn't just include memorizing math facts but should also "encompass learning the underlying concepts of math that are critical to successful problem solving." (Beta Teacher's Manual Introduction)

For Elementary students who are ready for mastery the books are labeled in Greek Alphabet order. Primer is an introduction to math that is perfect for young students ages 4-5 who are not ready for the mastery expectations of Alpha but who want to do school.   

Each book or level has a primary focus:
  • Alpha ~ Single Digit Addition and Single Digit Subtraction
  • Beta ~  Multiple-Digit Addition and Subtraction
  • Gamma ~ Multiplication of both single digit numbers and multiple-digit numbers
  • Delta ~ Division for single and multiple-digit numbers
  • Epsilon ~ Fractions
  • Zeta ~ Decimals and Percents

Yes, other concepts are taught as well so it's not quite as boring as it sounds. Each of the "Greek" levels has 30 lessons.  Each lesson has 3 practice pages for the concept taught in that lesson and 3 review pages. The review pages covers material not just from previous lessons but from previous levels as well.


In Beta students will cover:
  • Place Value
  • Sequencing
  • Inequalities
  • Rounding and Estimation
  • Multiple DIgit Addition
  • Place Value Notation
  • Skip Count by 2, 10, 5
  • Money
  • Measurement (12 inches = 1 foot)
  • Perimeter
  • Multiple Digit Column Addition
  • Multiple Digit Subtraction
  • Telling Time
  • Addition with Regrouping
  • Subtraction with Regrouping
  • Ordinal Numbers, Tally Marks, Days, and Months
  • Reading Gauges and Thermometers
  • Bar Graphs and Line Graphs

     


The Beta Digital Pack Includes:

  • 12 months of access to the Digital Content
  • Streaming Instructional Videos for 30 lessons plus the introduction
  • Digital Manipulatives that work best in Chrome or Safari (for an additional cost Demme Learning does have Digital Manipulatives App for Tablets)
  • Lesson Summary for the Introduction and each of the 30 lessons
  • Lesson Solutions  
  • Test Solutions



In addition you'll have easy access to these online resources:

  • A link to a page of downloadable parent resources including some fun extra worksheets for different levels
  • Worksheet Generator ~ exactly what it says on the tin, it can generate worksheets for extra practice.  Not every lesson is available and the worksheet generator does create word problems for practice
  • Online Drill ~ another fun way to practice math facts!
  • A link to Kindertown where you can find educational apps
  • Beta Record Keeping Sheet
  • Skip Count Songbook in PDF format
  • Skip Count mp3
 
Supergirl still struggles with memorizing her individual math facts but has mastered the concept of adding. We own both Alpha and Beta so I've been combining them so that she continues to work on mastering or memorizing single digit addition and subtraction yet is able to move forward with some new concepts in Beta.

Supergirl and I watch the Video instruction together.  She loves Mr. Demme and sometimes will watch lessons over and over because she enjoys them. I love having both the DVD and the Streaming video options.  She watches the DVD for fun, but for school we use the Digital Pack videos.

We also have been using both the Digital Manipulatives as well as the physical integer blocks. I love that we can pause the instruction and click on the Digital Manipulatives. They open in a separate tab and we can explore the concept with the Digital Manipulatives without having to haul the physical ones out to the family room or bring the laptop to the dining room.

Supergirl does benefit from being able to physically touch and manipulate the blocks so on days that we are not watching the video lesson, we work with the blocks and the worksheets at the dining room table.  For her having both options is helping her to really own the concepts and she is having fun while learning math.
Geometry covers the topics that you would expect to find in a high school level course.  There are no physical manipulatives for this level.  Since the integer blocks, algebra inserts, and fraction overlays are not needed, the Geometry Digital Pack does not include access to the Digital Manipulatives.  It does however contain access to the same types of content: streaming videos, lesson summaries, lesson solutions, and test solutions.  Unlike Beta, Geometry only has two additional resources: the link to the downloadable parent resources and the Geometry Record Keeping Sheet.





Tailorbear tells me that she really likes how Mr. Demme breaks down the concepts so that she really understands them. She loves the Record Keeping Sheet and she likes having the option of streaming her Geometry lesson and not being dependent on the DVD. The school laptop doesn’t play DVDs and the family room is often occupied by other students. 


I think purchasing a set that includes the Digital Pack is a great idea for flexibility for the Geometry Level but I think it is less useful than having the Digital Pack for the Beta Level. The streaming instruction videos plus the Digital Manipulatives complements the physical blocks nicely. I wouldn’t want to do Beta with just the DIgital Pack as my daughter really needs the tactile aspect of the physical integer blocks but the Digital Pack provides a great tool to use for introducing the concepts. 


Other Crew members reviewed different levels of Demme Leanring’s Math-U-See. Click on the Banner below to read what they have to say about the Digital Packs!

Demme Learning's Math-U-See Review


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    Crew Disclaimer

    As a Schoolhouse Review Crew Leader, I received multiple levels of the product.
    All information is correct and accurate at the time of this review.  

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