I would classify Eli and Brynne as strong third grade math students. They have been working on multiplication all year and are very good at it. We plan to move onto division in the next few weeks. But recently the Schoolhouse Review Crew had the opportunity to review Mastering 5th Grade Math - Volume 1 - Essentials of Fractions by ScienceandMath.com. I wasn't sure if the kids would be ready for fractions, but I was interested to find out. And I thought that if this product could teach my third grade math equivalent kids the initial concepts of fractions that the product would get a raving review from me.
ScienceandMath.com is an award winning company that provides several different science and math dvd based products, ranging from general science experiments to chemistry, basic math to algebra. Last year we reviewed Amazing Science - Volume 1, and it was a really great product. And you don't have to be a rocket scientist to do these lessons, because they are taught by a real life rocket scientist! Jason Gibson has advanced degrees in engineering and physics and worked as a rocket scientist for NASA. He has a passion for teaching science and math.
We received a dvd set that included the Video Lessons and the Worksheets & Digital Files (which includes the Answer Keys). Everything needed to use the product was provided by ScienceandMath.com, except for a printer, ink, and paper. The corresponding worksheets to the lessons must be printed from the Worksheets & Digital Files disk as a pdf. Mastering 5th Grade math - Volume 1 - Essentials of Fractions is the first video in a series of four volumes.
We decided to add Mastering 5th Grade Math - Volume 1 - Essentials of Fractions to the math work we were already doing each day and just reduce the number of problems we were doing with our other program. I was worried that it would be too much. But we didn't run into any issues.
How We Use the Product
Each lesson starts with presentation by Jason Gibson. The lessons are typically five to ten minutes long. He presents the material and then works out practice problems for the kids. We watch the video on the first day of the week that we start the new lesson. I print all of the worksheets for that lesson, which is usually two to four worksheets. The kids do one worksheet each day following the video lesson until all lessons are completed. Each worksheet has 10 practice problems that typically take about 10 to 15 minutes each. Then we move onto the next video lesson, the corresponding worksheets, and so on. So far we have completed five full lessons.
There are 16 total lessons in Mastering 5th Grade Math - Volume 1 - Essentials of Fractions. The lessons covered are:
- Review of Fraction Concepts
- Writing Fractions as Words
- Finding Factors of a Number
- Finding The Greatest Common Factor (GCF)
- Finding The GCF of 3 Numbers
- Prime Factorization
- Equivalent Fractions
- Renaming Fractions
- Simplifying Fractions, Part 1
- Simplifying Fractions, Part 2
- Review of Improper Fractions
- Review of Mixed Fractions
- Converting Mixed Fractions to Improper Fractions
- Converting Improper Fractions to Mixed Fractions
- Thinking about Fractions as Division
- Writing a Whole Number as a Fraction
Pros/Cons of Mastering 5th Grade Math - Volume 1 - Essentials of Fractions
The ease and simplicity of the video lessons have made the new concept of fractions an easy one for my kids. Not only are they being introduced to fractions, but they are also being introduced to the concept of division. So far they have understood the content of the videos completely without the need to ask me questions or for further explanation.
The worksheets are not long and complicated. There are about 10 problems on each worksheet and they cover the exact content presented in the video. Each lesson builds on the previous lesson and adds just a little bit more to the concept. It's not to heavy in numbers of problems, and seems to be just the right amount to solidify the concepts.
I personally thought the presentation of the videos was a little dry. But, then again, a lack of bells, whistles, and humor has made it succinct and simple without distraction. We recently watched a 6-part documentary on the Iditarod. It was really, really good. After discussing how much we had enjoyed it, Brynne said, "I like the fractions video second." I said, "Really? Why?" She said, "I don't know. I just like it. And I like fractions!" Pretty good endorsement because that girl loves anything to do with dogs!
I am enjoying that, so far, the kids are able to learn the material and do the worksheets independently without any teaching from me. That may change as the concepts get more difficult. But I feel like the lessons move slowly enough that they will be able to master the concepts before we move onto the next lesson.
I believe that at the conclusion of all of the lessons, my third grade math students will have mastered the initial concepts of 5th grade fractions. And that is exciting! It's exciting for me, but even more exciting for them! My endorsement of a product is usually based on whether we will continue to use the product after the review period ends. We absolutely will continue to use this product through its completion. If we continue to have our current rate of success, I will definitely consider purchasing the other volumes on fractions. Fractions is just something you have to "get", and I want the kids to get a strong education in them. I believe ScienceandMath.com can give them that with this Mastering 5th Grade Math series.
Mastering 5th Grade Math - Volume 1 - Essentials of Fractions is intended for children in grades 4-6. As I stated, my kids are in the third to fourth grade range and they have handled the concepts well. A good working knowledge of multiplication would be necessary. The dvd set is currently sold for $15.99 at ScienceandMath.com. It is also available for digital download for $14.99.
To read other reviews of Science4Us.com products, please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.