Review of MathScore
Mathscore is an online math practice system. Its main features are:
- hundreds of different math topics, from math facts to geometry and word problems
- problems are randomly generated and increase in difficulty
- an intelligent, adaptive system that practices problems the student has missed
- a reporting system to the parent/teacher
- It motivates the students to reach higher and higher levels.
MathScore offers both a school and a home version.
These screenshots show you the variety of topics within MathScore.
Why is practice so important? Isn't it "drill and kill"?
Mindless drill without teaching concepts and patterns is sort of futile, but drill and practice of math facts has its place.
For example, when teaching multiplication, you should first teach students the concepts and show them patterns in the multiplication tables. Then you go through the multiplication tables little by little and show them mnemonic tricks and such.
But ultimately it is time to practice. Children need to use those facts hundreds of times. They can play games, practice with flashcards, or use MathScore.
Memorization of basic addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts is important. In fact, it is CRUCIAL if you wish to do well in math.
Why? It's because learning the basic facts by heart frees the mind's resources to problem solving and other higher order tasks. For example, if a child doesn't learn addition facts, then double-digit or three-digit addition problems will be somewhat of a straining task for the child. If the child DOES know the facts, those problems are very easy and don't tax the mind very much at all. They become routine, something we can do "one eye closed, half asleep."
If a student doesn't know the multiplication tables by heart, then simplifying a fraction such as 42/56 is difficult and takes a long time. If the student does know them, it's as easy as pie.
Keep in mind that MathScore not only trains the student in the multiplication tables but also in many different kinds of basic computation, geometry, and word problems.
While the list of topics that MathScore covers is quite long, it is not all-inclusive.
Remember also that MathScore does not teach concepts. It provides practice problems after the student has learned the concept or the basic idea.
MathScore, $5.95/month for 1 student, $4 for a second student, and $3 for each additional student, and $60 for a year. School pricing is different. Website MathScore.com.
Review by Maria Miller