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The Math Goodies CD

The Math Goodies CD contains 135 in-depth math lessons, divided into 14 units, in various middle school topics (exception being symbolic logic, which is more of a high school level). 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 form fields 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.

Math Goodies CD lesson on area of triangle

Besides these, you will find 6 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.

The lessons on Math Goodies CD could be accurately described with one word: CLARITY. These lessons are to the point, avoid complicated sentences, have plenty of examples to study. The layout of the text is very clear, also, 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 how to learn himself. I also would venture to say that the clarity of the lessons make them very good (better than your standard math books) for students with learning disabilities, or 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 go check the solutions himself, and study again. Then he could go to the next lesson in the same unit in a similar way, until finally getting 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; just go check them out - or see screenshots here.

I will briefly describe the individual units on the CD:

  • The first unit is about Perimeter & Area of Polygons. The lessons go through the concept of perimeter, and the area formulas for rectangle, parallelogram, triangle, and trapezoid.
  • Next (short) unit is Circumference & Area of Circles.
  • Number Theory covers the following concepts: factors, GCF, multiples, LCM, primes, composites, divisibility tests, exponents. Remember there is a whole lesson for each concept.
  • Fractions unit covers classifying fractions, equivalent fractions, simplifying, compareing, ordering, converting fractions to mixed numbers and vice versa.
  • Decimals - the basics of decimal numbers.
  • More on Decimals - multiplying, dividing, and rounding decimals plus word problems.
  • The unit on Understanding Percent deals with converting percents to decimals or fractions, or vice versa, with 6 individual lessons.
  • Percent Applications 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; and has lesssons on comparing, and doing 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 order of operations including with integers, and writing algebraic expressions or equations (e.g. using a variable).
  • Data and Graphs - how to read and construct line bar and circle graphs. Also includes in-depth lesson on which kind of graph should be drawn from a given data.
  • Introduction to Statistics unit 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, etc. Logic is an interesting topic and including it here benefits those who want to study more than just the bare basic math.

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 $49; upgrade from earlier version possible. Download or a physical CD.

Review by Maria Miller, MSc, author of HomeschoolMath.net

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