Sunday, August 3, 2014

Mathletics (Schoolhouse Review)

Mathletics Online Math Review
 
 

Mathletics, a division of 3P Learning,  is an online math site that provides extensive math skills practice for students in K through 12th grades. It is used worldwide both in schools and in homes, and is intended as a supplement to any standard math curriculum.

Each enrolled student is assigned to a particular course and works on skills within that course. Students must work in only that course (although up to 5 course changes are allowed during the year, in case the student finishes a level, or begins in an inappropriate level). A parent must set the level from the parent page—this prevents a student from intentionally or accidently moving to a new level. Many of the courses are aligned to common core standards, although there are options for various state standards as well.

The “core” of Mathletics is the Activity section. Within that section, the course content is divided into topics. Each topic has multiple tasks to be mastered, beginning with an “Are You Ready?” pretest and finishing with a test. The courses seem to be a pretty thorough overview of what should be covered at each grade level.

Each task includes 10 questions and when the student has made a grade of 80%, he earns a Gold Bar. Earning gold bars and completing other tasks on Mathletics earns the student points, which he can use to embellish his avatar.

Emily worked in the Algebra course, and since we were given accounts for 2 students, I signed myself up for the Geometry course to experience the program personally. The screenshots below picture both levels.

Activity Page—Geometry topics listed on left.

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A question from the Algebra Course.

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In addition to the Activity section, students have access to printable workbooks for each topic, to video explanations of topics (very helpful after missing a question), and interactive demonstrations of problems.

A feature that Emily enjoyed was the Live Mathletics section, where she could compete for speed and accuracy with another student of her grade level. Since students all over the world use mathletics, she might find herself competing with a student in Australia or South Aftrica!

Parents are able to assign up to 10 particular tasks to the student. Upon signing on, the student will be required to do these tasks before attempting anything else on the site. Another nice parent feature is that the parent is able to log on, or to receive email updates, to see the time each student has spent practicing, the particular skills practiced, and the scores earned.

Videos offer chalkboard-type explanations of problems being explained, pictured, and solved.

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Interactive activities show a workbook page that explains a concept and have have an interactive feature that allows the user to manipulate drawings. In the example below, I dragged a corner of the triangle to see the effect on the length and angle measurements.

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Printed student workbooks are available for each topic in the parent section  for those who need additional practice or would prefer written reinforcement.

 
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What we thought: Mathletics is an enjoyable way to practice math skills. The content covered seems to be quite thorough. It doesn’t teach the material, then offer practice, so it would not be suitable as a complete curriculum, although it does provide explanations of concepts if the student chooses to click on the ebook or video boxes. I think many students might not bother with interrupting the math activity to do this, but Emily did think that they were helpful.
 
Emily really liked that there were only 10 problems in a section, making it a quick process to earn gold bars. I thought that the problems were pretty repetitive within a section, so 10 problems should be enough practice for a student who is just reviewing. I found that I could zip through several sections of geometry in 15 minutes or so. Emily took much longer in her algebra course, but I suspect she was dawdling.
 
I didn’t find the Mathletics site entirely intuitive to use. It took me a while to find the workbooks on the parent page, and there were some features that I never really figured out. Also, it was a little frustrating when I clicked the browser “back” button instead of the “back” or “home” buttons in the program and was returned to the sign-in page. There weren’t any big problems, but I’ve used math practice sites that were laid out better.
 
Mathletics is not a game site; it offers serious math practice. However it is colorful and offers small rewards and competition that should motivate students to spend time practicing.
 
A 1-year subscription to Mathletics is currently $59 per student.
 
Click to read Crew Reviews

I received this product free in exchange for my honest review.

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