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The Math Goodies CD

The Math Goodies CD contains 168 in-depth math lessons, divided into 17 units, on various middle school topics (the exception being symbolic logic, which is a high school level lesson). Each of the lessons concentrates on one topic or concept, with simple and clear explanations, several examples, and practice problems.

These lessons always end in five interactive questions (some multiple choice, some open response with sophisticated error trapping) where the student gets immediate feedback. Each unit also has a set of 10 practice exercises and similarly a set of 10 challenge exercises.

Besides these, you will find printable worksheets (PDF), interactive crossword puzzles, and one printable crossword for each unit. The CD also includes eight interactive games, one of them being the neat "Integer Football Game". Full solutions are provided for all resources.

Math Goodies CD lesson on area of triangle

The lessons on Math Goodies CD could be accurately described with one word: CLARITY. These lessons are to the point, avoid complicated sentences, and have plenty of examples to study. The layout of the text is very clear, as is the navigation in the whole CD. There are small graphics to enliven the text but nothing distracting. Often, new terms can be clicked to see the definition. The whole lesson is one scrolling page. So you or your student shouldn't get lost!

interactive math crossword puzzle
Click to enlarge
In fact, these features make the lessons perfect for students to study on their own – which is what we teachers and educators always strive for: a student who learns by himself. I would also venture to say that the clarity of the lessons makes them very suitable (more so than lessons in most math books) for students with learning disabilities and for advanced elementary students who want to proceed to middle school topics.

For example, you could assign a student to go through a particular lesson and do the 5 interactive exercises at the end. In case he missed something, he could check the solutions himself, and study again. Then he could go on to the next lesson in the same unit in a similar way, finally advancing to the exercise sets, worksheets, and crossword puzzles in the end of the unit.

This way, lesson by lesson, concept by concept, the student can start taking responsibility of his own studying, and discover the enjoyment of "I did it!"

You don't have to take my word over it; some of the lessons are available on the website for free.

I will briefly describe the individual units on the CD:

  • The first unit is about Perimeter & Area of Polygons. The lessons explain the concept of perimeter and the area formulas for rectangle, parallelogram, triangle, and trapezoid.
  • The next (short) unit is Circumference & Area of Circles.
  • Number Theory covers the following concepts: factors, GCF, multiples, LCM, primes, composites, divisibility tests, and exponents. Remember there is a whole lesson for each concept.
  • Fractions unit covers classifying fractions, equivalent fractions, simplifying, comparing, ordering, converting fractions to mixed numbers and vice versa.
  • Adding and Subtracting Fractions and Mixed Numbers teaches how to add and subtract fractions & mixed numbers with like and unlike denominators, and includes some real-world problems.
  • Multiplying and Dividing Fractions and Mixed Numbers
  • covers multiplying fractions, multiplying factions with canceling, multiplying mixed numbers, reciprocals, dividing fractions, dividing mixed numbers, and solving real-world problems.
  • Decimals Part I – the basics of decimal numbers.
  • Decimals Part II – multiplying, dividing, and rounding decimals plus word problems.
  • Understanding Percent deals with converting percents to decimals or fractions and vice versa, with 6 individual lessons.
  • Consumer Math is about percent proportion, discounts, interest, sales tax, and percent change – the all-important, yet often tricky topics for middle-school. A lot of effort has gone to the percent proportion lesson, which explains the idea in a detailed way, yet keeps things crystal clear.
  • Integers unit is one of the largest. It contains lessons on comparing integers and all the four operations with integers. The integer football game is a clever application of the concept of adding integers. It is a learning game well done and sure to capture youngsters' attention!
  • The Probability unit is comprehensive, with 9 lessons, and covers basic probability concepts up to dependent events and conditional probability.
  • Topics in Pre-algebra concentrates on the order of operations and writing algebraic expressions or equations (e.g. using a variable).
  • Data and Graphs teaches how to read and construct line, bar, and circle graphs. It also includes an in-depth lesson on which kind of graph should be drawn from a given data.
  • Introduction to Statistics covers range, mean, median, and mode. Advanced mean is a lesson on word problems that include the concept of mean (or average), but where something else is asked instead of the mean. Some of their solutions even use very simple algebra.
  • The unit on Symbolic Logic covers the basic operations such as negation, conjunction, disjunction, and so on. Logic is an interesting topic and including it here benefits those who want to study more than just the bare basic math.
  • Sets and Set Theory covers basic definitions and notation, types of sets, equality, Venn diagrams, subsets, Universal set, set-builder notation, complement, intersection and union.

In summary

Very clear middle-school level math lessons concentrating on one concept at a time with interactive exercises and printable worksheets (+ solutions). Suits well independent learning, even for younger students.

Website Math Goodies CD by Gisele Glosser. Home license $59; upgrade from earlier version possible. Available as a download or a physical CD.

Review by Maria Miller