Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A+ Interactive Math {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

Math Mini-Courses {A+ Interactive Math Review}

I've often heard of A+ Interactive Math, but I haven't wanted to switch Lauren's complete math instruction to a computer based option. Recently, though, A+ Interactive Math introduced a series of Math Mini-Courses designed to address learning gaps in specific math areas.

There are twenty Math Mini-Courses that cover such topics as place value, time, money, fractions, probability and statistics, geometry, and elementary algebra.

Our regular math curriculum follows a different scope and sequence than many elementary math programs. Because of that, Lauren has a few gaps in her math skills when compared to other students her age. I chose to enroll her in both the Measurements and Conversions course and the Tables, Charts, and Graphs course.

Both of the Mini-Courses follow the same general format. The student logs into their account, selects the course, and then picks the appropriate lesson. The lesson starts with an interactive multi-media teaching session. It's not exactly a video, but rather more like a narrated set of slides on a whiteboard.

We started with the Measurements and Conversions course. Lauren has done some measuring around the house, but we haven't formally studied it. The course started with a general discussion of the U.S. System of Measurement and the Metric System. I thought that the explanations were clear, but Lauren didn't seem to follow along or grasp what was being taught.

Following the multi-media lesson, the student completes a series of interactive review questions. Unfortunately, Lauren figured out that she could go back and reattempt the question if she didn't answer it correctly the first time. After she finished a few lessons, I realized that her "perfect" scores did not necessarily mean that she had understood the materials.

Each lesson then offers a worksheet that can be done online or printed. I printed one of the worksheets for Lauren and found that she couldn't answer even half of the questions correctly. We reviewed the answers on the printed worksheet, and then I had her do the online version. Unfortunately, the worksheet had the exact same questions, just in a different order. While having identical questions could serve as a review, I think it would be more beneficial if the questions varied somewhat -- even if they only varied the numbers in the problems. Lauren simply remembered which questions needed to be answered "all of the above" and that 4 metric tons equals 4000 kg; she hadn't actually learned the materials or how to do the calculations.

Since she was struggling with the lesson, I took a closer look at the materials. Although I can understand the way the program teaches conversions, it was presented in a way that is far too advanced for Lauren to grasp.

I decided to take a break from the Measurements and Conversions course to see how Lauren would do with the Tables, Charts, and Graphs course.

Lauren is doing a bit better with this course, perhaps because the material is more concrete and easier to understand. She particularly liked the lessons about picture graphs, especially when she got to create her own.

I sometimes found the interactive review questions to be a bit difficult to read, but Lauren doesn't seem to have a problem.

Lauren enjoys the Tables, Charts, and Graphs course and is looking forward to finishing all seventeen of the lessons.

I'd say our experience with A+ Interactive Math Mini-Courses was mixed. They could be a good way to fill in math learning gaps, but I had a hard time determining which Mini-Courses would be too difficult for my daughter.

Each Math Mini-Courses costs between $9.99 and $19.99 for a one-year access to the materials. There are different options for all ages of elementary students.

Math Mini-Courses {A+ Interactive Math Review}

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