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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Math Mammoth’s Topical Blue Series, a review

Do you have a kiddo who needs some intensive review of just a few topics?  Math Mammoth’s topical Blue Series is designed for you. 

I recently had the opportunity to review Math Mammoth’s Statistics & Probability and Geometry 2.

Click on the product name to see samples on the product information page.

Statistics & Probability Geometry 2
100 pages 104 pages
grades 6-7 grades 5-7
pdf (color):  $5.30 pdf (color):  $5.80
print (b&w):  $10.30
Topics include:
print (b&w):  $10.40
Topics include:

bar graphs
stem and leaf plots
line graphs
average, mean, and mode
circle graphs
simple probability
compound probability

angles in triangles
drawing problems
scale ratio
area of polygons
area of a circle
volume of prisms
volume of pyramids & cones

Other topics available in the Blue Series include:  Addition, Addition & Subtraction, Clocks, Money (US, Canadian, Australian, British, South African, and European versions), Measuring, Multiplication, Division, Fractions, Decimals, and more.

Math Mammoth’s Blue Series books are all inclusive “worktexts.” No separate reading text or teacher’s edition is needed---the text speaks directly to the student and all answers are provided in the back.

Both of the books I reviewed also contained an extensive list of links to free online resources (including games and interactive activities).

Got a kid who’s allergic to his pencil or who has motor difficulties?  All Math Mammoth pdfs are now “type-in,” so he can practice his typing skills, while doing his math.

The format of these worktexts is fairly simple.  Illustrated instruction, followed by practice, with basic color graphics and minimal bells and whistles.

math mammoth geometry screenshotmath mammoth geometry screenshot 2

Math Mammoth Statistics Screenshot Math Mammoth Statistics Screenshot 2

The graphics are generally designed in such a way that if you choose to print them in black and white, there is still enough contrast among the different colors to read graphs and diagrams clearly.

Line graphs use both symbols and colors to differentiate between the lines.

Math Mammoth Line graph closeup

How did we use Math Mammoth?

I used Statistics & Probability and Geometry 2 with my oldest, a 7th grader.  David has had some difficulty with math in the past, which led to us spend a lot of time on the basics and not as much time on some of the more interesting topics.  The topical aspect of the Blue Series seems to make it idea for filling in gaps.

What I like about Math Mammoth:

The price can’t be beat.  The flexibility is great, too.  Whether you need to fill a gap or reinforce a weak area, Math Mammoth is an economical choice.

I like the “type-in” aspect, although that wasn’t useful for these 2 particular books---you can’t “draw” bar graphs or polygons directly into the pdf, so a pencil it was.

And I like being able to print just the pages I want (we did skip some pages, either because it was a topic he already knew well or because it was too much practice), and I like being able to print in black and white or color without losing readability.

What I feel could be improved:

I felt that my son would have benefitted from larger type and less on a page.  A little more white space would make the pages more visually pleasing and easier to read.  The multiple lines graphs, for instance, would be much easier to read if the symbols used were larger and the background was white instead of a color. 

I also felt that some of the explanations were awkward and hard to understand.  Here’s an example:Math Mammoth this or that

Take a look at the center block.  My son couldn’t make sense of it.  I could make sense of it (with some mental finagling), but it’s not a precise explanation.  If a visual example had been given (labeling the “this” and “that”), I think the confusion could have been avoided. 

There are other instances of awkward language use, like “how many percent of people” instead of “what percentage of people.”  A little editing could fix these minor issues.

Overall recommendations:

Math Mammoth proved to not be a very good fit for my very visual child as an independent text.  I found that things went much more smoothly when I read the text and actively taught it to him.  I also found that some of the explanations needed explaining.

I do think that the Blue Series is an economical option to consider if your child needs extra practice in a few topics or to fill a knowledge gap. 

In addition to the Blue Series, also available from Math Mammoth

The Light Blue Series (complete grade level curriculum)

The Golden Series (worksheets by grade, no instruction)

The Green Series (worksheets by topic, no instruction)

Make it Real Learning (math workbooks that feature real-life problems)

For reviews of other books from Math Mammoth, please visit the Schoolhouse Crew Blog:

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