Multiplexercise: Multiplication, Music and Dance

Multiplexercise: Multiplication, Music and DanceMultiplexercise is a musical program designed to help children learn and retain the multiplication tables easily through song and dance. Multiplication and exercise what could be better? When I popped the DVD into the player, I had high hopes that the program would help my 10-year old with her multiplication trouble spots. Although my six-year old was busy doing battle with Beyblades, I thought this might also be a great way to do that sneaky homeschooling thing where the kids learn despite themselves. :-)

So, I corralled the kids into the room and turned on the program. The first problem with this program, for me at least, is that there was no introductory statement to let the kids know what to expect. The song and dance starts as soon as you  hit “Play” and you’re left to your own devices.

I’ve watched other musical/exercise math programs, and having the dancers/singers interact with their audience was always a plus.  Although the website mentions that the kids should feel free to create their own choreography, the DVD doesn’t make that invitation to the audience.

My 10-year old liked the way “times” and “equal” were eliminated during the review of the multiplication tables. She is a minimalist at heart, so not having to recite or write a lot of words is right up her alley.  But that really seemed to be the high point for her. My 13-year old was very vocal about her distaste for the multiplication program. I attempted to elicit at least one positive aspect of the program, so I asked her if she thought that the songs would help kids to remember their multiplication facts and her answer was, “Sure, the music  is so annoying, how can anyone forget it.” Ouch!

Since there is an absence of narration, it took a few minutes to realize that each time the cast moved on to the next number the dance routine also changed.  This lack of direction killed whatever enthusiasm my children may have had to dance along with the cast. All in all, my crew found the DVD to be lame.

From a parental point of view, the recitation style is a wonderful strategy to learn the multiplication table. The creators have the right idea, but the execution definitely could have been better. There are three levels to the DVD — Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced. Out of the three levels, we enjoyed (if we can use that word) the Advanced level the best, primarily because the choreography was a bit better. I really wanted to like this multiplcation program, but it just didn’t work for us.

 

Disclosure: I received a review copy in exchange for an honest opinion of this product. No other compensation was received.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

MathTutor: The Most Beautiful (and Innovative) Math in the World

MathTutor has created one of the most beautiful math programs for young children that I have ever experienced. I find it difficult to describe the visual and auditory beauty that you experience in “Young Minds Number and Counting.” I have a three year old son and although we all found the cover intriguing with the tree frog, Michael hasn’t expressed any real interest in “formal” learning. We don’t have cable (hence we have not television) so he hasn’t been exposed to much Sesame Street and the usual suspects.

But once the video began, he was entranced. I mean, the perpetual motion boy just sat and watched the entire presentation without a word. On the next pass (he insisted on it being played again) he kept jumping up to make sure that we were watching the many animals that were being counted while beautiful classical music played in the background. The music chosen were selections from Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi, Brahms, Pachelbel and Chopin. (Sometimes I just put it on to listen to the music!)

This is a basic counting DVD, but because of the extraordinary images and music it is more of a feast of numbers than I would have thought possible. I mean, how interesting can you make counting to 15? If you really want to know you need to watch this video.

The Basic Math Word Problem Tutor

While not as colorful or musically inspired, this eight hour video course is very thorough and an excellent way to explain word problems to your children. The instructor begins at the beginning and builds on each foundation. My oldest daughter has trouble with word problems (as it seems a lot of kids do), but she really enjoyed watching the video and working alongside the instructor. Actually, I was surprised that she wasn’t goofing around while the DVD was playing. Instead she ran upstairs got her notebook and took notes on what the instructor said and did. Her word problem skills still need work, but she seemed to really appreciate the way that the teacher explained things.

I personally found his explanations and illustrations to be quite clear. And he went through the entire strategy for tackling a problem. If there were more than one way to arrive at the correct answer he explained each of them while helping the student to focus on key words that supply the clues to what you’re supposed to accomplish. Overall, I was quite impressed and even re-learned a few things that I had forgotten about. I know that these three DVDs will hold a prominent place in our bag of math tricks.

Khalid Family Says: 5 stars out of 5

Disclaimer: http://cmp.ly/1/kdjm12

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Math, Mortensen Math, David Cook Real Love Song, Jazz Math, Arithmetic, Homeschool, Curriculum,1

MortensenMathDirect.com, MortensenMathDirect.tv, MortensenMath.tv, present, in conjunction with Mortensen Math, Jazz Math, and David Cook Real Love Song. Teaching or learning math can be fun and easy. Using math manipulatives for 25 years. STARRING “the GREEN one” in “WANT TO BE A TEN” with Ben Rogers, Mortensen Math Master Trainer. Copyright 2006-2010 Reel Love Song Media, Hollywood CA.

Duration : 0:10:16

[Read more...]

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

GyMathtics: Math That Really Makes You Sweat

Gymathtics: Math that Makes You Sweat
Since math makes so many people sweat, why not combine the basic math concepts with some healthy exercise? And that’s exactly what Gymathtics from Exploracise has done.  I had my reservations at first, especially since the first set of exercises involved some geometry (which is definitely not my favorite subject — high school trauma LOL!), but I warmed up (both mentally and physically) as we progressed through the exercises.

I liked the pace of the exercises that are on this DVD. The stretches (geometry) were simple to copy and effective.  My six year old sometimes has troubles following other video exercise programs, but I think the pace in this one makes it easier for her to maintain. After shape stretches warm ups we moved on to the Counting Calisthenics which I enjoyed a lot. Not only do normal counting and skip counting, but we moved our bodies to the prime number beat as well.  They puzzled over the prime number pattern, which led us to a brief discussion of them. So it was a great preview of math to come.

Now we move Jade’s favorite part – Pattern Power! The patterns that are used are pretty simple when you watch them, but can be a bit challenge in the actual execution. Jade’s favorite was the basketball pattern (which she still does too fast in my humble opinion). Everyone’s favorite part was the Well-Being Wind Down.  It’s a series of yoga poses and other stretches to round out the 30 minute workout.  I really liked the quiet (can you tell I’m getting old) nature of the wind down after the exuberant sound effects from the kids while they went through the paces of earlier exercises.

Well, we know that the workout is real, but does it really help the children get the basic math concepts under their belt? Well, here’s some information that really helped me to appreciate the wisdom of combining the physical activity and mathematical concepts:

(Quoted from NewsMax.com, July 28, 2007)

4. Hand Gestures Dramatically Improve Learning

Kids asked to physically gesture at math problems are nearly three times more likely than non-gesturers to remember what they’ve learned. In today’s issue of the journal Cognition, a University of Rochester scientist suggests it’s possible to help children learn difficult concepts by providing gestures as an additional and potent avenue for taking in information.

It turned out to have a more dramatic effect than Cook expected. In her study, 90 percent of students who had learned algebraic concepts using gestures remembered them three weeks later. Only 33 percent of speech-only students who had learned the concept during instruction later retained the lesson. And perhaps most astonishing of all, 90 percent of students who had learned by gesture alone — no speech at all — recalled what they’d been taught.

The article goes into more detail, but you get the gist. So this is a great way of introducing or cementing mathematical concepts into the minds of our young students. It’s especially good for kinesthetic kids (like mine) who need lots of action to keep the blood flowing to their brains. :-) So if you’re looking to engage your kids in some exercise, both mental and physical, this is definitely the right way to go.

So where can you get yours? Each DVD (there are two in the series so far) costs $24.99 at their online store Exploracise, as well as Amazon.

The Khalid family of reviewers rate this a 5 out of 5.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: http://cmp.ly/2

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Math Practice on an International Scale

The Mathletics program is  an awesome way to inspire kids to take their mathematical skills to the next level. It allows your children to practice their math facts through a series of games. Each game is designed to motivate children to work on their weaker math skills while racking up lots of points practicing their best math areas. My daughters really liked the “shopping” aspect of the game. Although seeing top scores can sometimes motivate her to try and top the high scorers, earning points to go shopping and add accessories to her avatar was a true driving force for her.

Parents benefit from this program because each week you’ll get a progress report on how your children are doing. In addition to this you are able to change the settings if you think their current workout is too easy or too difficult for your child. For example, Jade rapidly ran through the math that she already knew. So, she would go and do her math, but only pick one or two of her more challenging topics and spend the rest of the time breezing through the easy stuff. And since I wasn’t standing behind her she thought she was safe. Imagine her surprise when I “retuned” her workouts to minimize the number of “easy” topics for the ones that she needed to work on.  (LOL! Yes, I am an evil mommy!)

I also like the international scope of the math games. 3P/Mathletics has programs for a variety of countries including South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and an International option for other countries that aren’t listed. Sometimes when I’m teaching the kids I’m not sure if they understand that they are not the only ones being made to “suffer” through their studies. Seeing that children all around the world are being “tortured” made my eldest daughter feel a little better.

I didn’t get a password for my younger daughter, but we did explore the Australian math section for younger children. It was very colorful and interesting to see how other countries introduce math to their little ones. Actually when Jade got frustrated doing her work she would sometimes switch over and give herself a mental break by playing the games. Alaya had a lot of fun playing with the measurement games and seeing all of the “exotic” animals that we had to measure. For Alaya, an animal lover, this was a nice bonus.

Although I chose to officially test Mathletics on only one of my children, you can setup subscriptions for each child and use Mathletics from kindergarten to eighth grade.  An annual  12-month subscription  costs only $59 per student and comes with a 10-day money back guarantee if you’re not happy with the program. I really doubt that there is any parent who would not appreciate the extra help when it comes to developing strong math skills in their children. And when you consider that Club Penguin costs $60/yr. just to play games, you can see that this is a very competitive price.  And, I almost forgot to mention that if you can guess the human calculator’s favorite number of the day the subscription price drops to $49.95/yr.

My children have used a variety of websites that have are designed to help make drill exercises more interesting. Mathletics is one of the best that we’ve used. There are many incentives to continue practicing including earning certificates, going shopping with a little international competition on the side. My daughter enjoyed creating her avatar (with accessories of course) and was comfortable using the interface. Her one complaint was that the variety of games could have been improved with some math mysteries that would have to be solved in an allotted amount of time and if there were a few reward videos where the main characters tell a little story so that you felt like a real part of the Mathletics world. Aside from that observation from my “gaming girl” our experience was a positive one.

So, the Khalid Kids rate Mathletics a 4 out of 5 stars.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Get Adobe Flash player