Monday, April 1, 2013

TOS Review - Math U See

 photo MathUSeelogo3_zps75a0efc5.gif

What is Math-U-See?

Math-U-See ( is a curriculum built for students in grades K-12 using a total of 7 sets in general math and 7 sets in secondary math. This math curriculum teaches students by using manipulatives with the goal of students actually "seeing" the math happen in front of them. They strive for students to truly understand why math happens.

Math-U-See is ideal for a home school setting or small group in which the parent/teacher is able to interact with the child closely, making sure the student has mastered the concepts before moving on further.
What We Received and How We Used It:

For this review, we received the Math-U-See Alpha curriculum, which is geared toward K-1 students.
 photo alphaTEACH_zpsdbd3de09.gif
Within our set was an Instruction Manual ($43.00), Student Workbook and Test Booklet ($30.00), Introduction to Alpha DVD (included in purchase), 2 sets of manipulative blocks (each set is $38.00), a Decimal Street poster and Block Clock (included in purchase).
 photo m-blocks_zps252c4656.jpg
The Student Workbook includes 30 lessons. In each lesson the student is given a few practice worksheets and review sheets as an aid in mastering each topic.
The Instruction Manual includes a prep to each lesson for the parent/teacher, teaching tips, games for good practice and word problem tips. The back of this manual holds the answer key to the tests given, a glossary, an index for Alpha and an index for general math. The index for general math tells you which level of Math-U-See you will find the many topics of general math.
The Test Booklet includes a test for each 30 lessons, 4 unit tests and 1 final test.
Before starting this curriculum with Kollin, I sat and watched the DVD with him. Just as I did with the Primer level, I included him in this beginning process. I like for him to see the plan for the curriculum and how we will work with it.

Before each lesson, I always look through the Instruction Manual during my lesson planning. After looking through and planning, I decided Kollin would be able to skip Lessons 1-3 because those topics were still very fresh for us from being in Primer prior to receiving Alpha.

Kollin has memorized many addition problems, just in his own time. Some days I can hear Kolt (4) and Kollin in the back seat of the car reciting addition problems. This is good, yes, but I wanted Kollin to know why 2+3 is 5. And that is exactly what Math-U-See does. This curriculum allows Kollin to see math happening, not just recite it.  

We were able to fully achieve lessons 4-7, which included addition +0, addition +1, counting to 100 and skip counting by 10 and lastly, addition +2.

Although my goal was to originally use this for Kollin, Kolt was able to jump right in with understanding addition. The blocks make it very easy to understand because you can actually see the math happening.

I learned in doing Primer that Kollin is not a worksheet-kind-of-kid. I think they bore him because there is no interaction there. Alpha was no different. Kollin would do the practice sheets rather quickly and then ask to do another game or practice with me.

Kollin and Kolt were able to sit together, giving one another addition problems to solve. The book teaches the child to build, write and say. I would hear Kolt say, "3+2". Kollin would build the problem with his blocks, write the problem on our chalkboard and then say the problem together. It was great to see them working together!

Our weekly routine to accomplish each lesson was to introduce the topic and work together on the first day, review the second and third day and also add a couple worksheets/games and Kollin would do a couple systematic review sheets on his own the fourth day. I chose to not use the tests at Kollin's age.

My Opinion:

Math-U-See works for our family.

There are several key elements that stick with Kollin and Kolt starting from Primer and now going into Alpha. They will never forget that when you count, you always start with zero. Build, write, say. Build, write, say. Those three words have helped them master place value, addition and I am sure many other techniques in the future.

In the beginning, I did have a hard time not being told exactly what to say. I know that sounds crazy, but there are some curriculums that literally tell you exactly what to say to the student, when to play this game, how many worksheets to accomplish before proceeding to this step, so on and so forth. After a few lessons though, I learned the beauty in this. Math-U-See gives you the perfect building blocks to teach your child(ren) math. But it also gives you the freedom to accomodate to your student(s) as well. The perfect example of that I mentioned above: Kollin prefers the learning games over worksheets, so of course we do more games - and he learns more from this.

I believe as long as the parent/teacher is willing to put effort into learning the concepts and teaching styles of Math-U-See, the program will work for their family.
 photo DisclaimerGraphic1_zpsf612f371.gif

No comments:

Post a Comment