According to their website, Master Innovations started with a single math manipulative -- the Master Ruler. It is a hands-on way to make learning measurement easy and fun. Since then, they've expanded their offerings to include the Master Clock, Master Angles, and Master Fractions.
The Master Fraction ($17.95) and The Master Fraction Workbook ($15.95) to review. The workbook helped me to understand how I could use the fraction pieces to show fractions and to work simple fraction problems. For Brennan, the workbook was a good introduction to the concept of fractions in general. Brennan really has had no formal experience with fractions prior to reviewing this product, and he did really well with the assignments he tried in the first half of the book. For fun, I jumped to some of the problems later in the book and he was able to solve them with the help of the Master Fraction.
The Master Fraction itself is a set of three sturdy spiral bound tools, each roughly 6 inches square. One goes up to 12ths, one up to 16ths, and the last up to 20ths. The clear sheets flip over each other so that you can see equivalent fractions. For instance, if you use a dry-erase marker to color in one-fourth of the square, you can flip the next sheet to see that it is the same as two-eighths, and then flip again to show four-sixteenths.
Even though our current curriculum uses a hands-on model to illustrate fractions, I will probably continue to use the Master Fraction as an additional option. The spiral format allows the overlays to match up perfectly, which will definitely help Brennan see the fractions accurately. I also like the way that the system is condensed down to just three different pieces (which are all large enough to be easily found). Many other fractions models I've seen have a lot of smaller pieces that are likely to be misplaced in our house. The Master Fraction is useful for both easy fraction problems (is one-fourth bigger than one-sixth?) and for more complex operations (simplify twenty-two-sixteenths and write as a mixed number).
Bottom line: The Master Fraction would be a great addition to any math curriculum -- either for a homeschool student or for a child who struggles with visualize fractions on their regular math homework.
If you'd like to see what other homeschool families thought about the math manipulatives from Master Innovations, you can find their reviews on The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew blog.
I received The Master Fraction and The Master Fraction Workbook from Master Innovations as a member of the 2010 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.
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