## Friday, May 31, 2013

### “Make It Real Learning” (Schoolhouse Review)

“Make It Real Learning” is a series  of workbooks published by Math Mammoth that “uses activities and problems situations taken from real-life, with real data.”  If you ever hear the question, “When will I ever need to know this?” about math from your child, you might want to take a look at this series.

The skill levels for this series range from grade 3 to pre-calculus, although  most of the books focus on middle school and high school level concepts. We reviewed:

Sets, Probability, and Statistics I- for grades 6-10. \$4.99

Linear Functions I - for algebra 1 and algebra 2. \$4.99

Fractions, Percents, and Decimals II - for grades 6-11. \$4.99

Each book includes 10 different activities with real-life data that the student works with. In the Sets, Probability, and Statistics book, Emily used statistics to compared the ratios of colored gummy fruit in different packages. She drew Venn diagrams to compare candy bar brands, and looked at the variety and number of possible combinations for telephone numbers, menu choices, and license plates.

In Fractions, Percents, and Decimals, the activities included comparing measures of body temperature, analyzing and graphing basketball game scores, real estate investing, calculating sales tax, and comparing aspect ratios of photos, theater screens, and tv sets.

Linear Functions 1 had her doing activities like comparing costs of various cell phone plans and converting temperatures between Celsius and Fahrenheit scales.

Every activity had data taken from “real-life.” For example, the cell phone plan costs were taken from actual T-Mobile and Verizon charges. The gummy bears data were from actual packages of Kirkland brand gummy bears. Some of the activities were very practical, such as the cell phone plans, calculating housing costs, and dealing with sales tax. Others were more contrived…no customer actually needs to know how many different meal combinations are possible from a menu with 3 meat choices and 11 side choices!

The activities were a nice change from a typical math curriculum and were a good reinforcement and application of concepts Emily had already learned. We worked many of the pages together, because some activities were a challenge for her. I appreciated that there was a full solution page for every activity, since occasionally even I needed help or confirmation that were were on the right track!  Emily has done very little work with probability, so these activities in particular were a fun introduction to the concept. (If I had offered her her own packages of gummy snacks to compare, it would have been even more fun!)

My opinion: I think the Math in Real Life series is an inexpensive way to reinforce concepts and to make the bridge between textbook math and the math that is needed in daily life.