Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Math 911

Here is what I love about reviewing different math programs:  there are multiple ways to explain a math problem and examining all the ways to solve it helps a student to get a concept you could not otherwise teach.  I always use a main math curriculum but often use supplemental materials when my kids get stuck on a concept. 

My daughter who did Algebra I last year used two different supplemental products one of which I reviewed here on my blog.  Math 911, created by long-time New York city teacher Martin Weissmann, is one more tool in my bag of Algebra tricks to help my daughter sharpen her Algebra skills.  It is the first time I used a program that is computer based with the exception of online videos. 

I had a lot of technical difficulties with downloading the program.  My husband is an IT guy and did a lot of the tech stuff to make it work.  I usually download homeschool items to my laptop but ended up downloading it to my daughter’s netbook.  For some reason the program works on her netbook but not my laptop.  I have a very low tolerance for technical difficulties, which affected my attitude toward the program but I fought through the bias to really navigate the program for use.  It is a solid supplemental program. 

Courses available include Introductory Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, College Algebra, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, and Statistics.  The entire program is available for a discounted price of $49.95.  You can also download Introductory Algebra for free at the Math911 website to try out the program before you buy it.  You can also order a 2G USB drive, Algebrainaflash, to use anywhere you go.  It requires no installation and no software, just plug it in and play.  Math911 Algebra in a flash works on Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7.  This undoubtedly would have been the best solution for me!  Right now it is available for $9.95.   The whole program is very affordable. Software updates are available at the website and technical support is always available.  I must say Mr. Weissmann is very responsive and always willing to help with technical difficulties.  Customer service goes very far with me.  I would use this product for that reason alone. 

We spent our time working on Introductory Algebra.  This course has 8 levels with each level containing various topics beginning with Pre-algebra Review.  The student progresses through a series of problems to work on in each section of that level.  The program keeps track of the student’s progress and offers two mid-terms and finals for the student to test learning.  You will need paper and pencil to work the problems that are presented and then key in your answer to be scored.  You can click on the solution button to see how the problem is worked if you don’t understand how to solve it.

I love PDF downloads.  A few are available at the Math911 website and includes a lot of interesting information in cartoon format.  Makes for a fun math worksheet.  There is a cartoon book available called Laugh with Math which was not included in this review but I thought is was noteworthy.  It is a genius way to use math.  I'm not sure I've seen a product like this on the market.  It covers such topics as:  inequalities, absolute values, signed numbers, and combining like terms. 
Final thoughts:  I am not a huge fan of computer based math programs.  In my mind, math should be done with paper and pencil with plenty of room to show your work and circle the final answer.  Call me a traditionalist.  However, I am a fan of having multiple resources to accomplish my work.  Students can get bored so using different tools for learning is great.  At the Math911 price, I would use it to help break up the monotony of the math routine.  The program is intended for students age 12 and up.  Anyone ready for introductory Algebra can use this program.

Find out what my other crew "mates" thought about Math 911 here.
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.


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