Review of Equals Math Jigsaw Puzzles
Equals Math is a set of math jigsaw puzzles on the computer (it works in Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP). Most of the puzzles are in the form of math tables (such as multiplication table) so it reinforces the student's understanding of the underlying structure.
There are puzzles for:
The puzzle idea is very simple, yet powerful. Seeing the places where a piece is still missing makes you feel you just have to finish it! And, being in the form of math tables helps students understand it better than just, say, random flashcard practice.
- Skip-counting by 1's – 5's
- Skip-counting by 6's – 10's
- Learning Time – the student matches analog clocks to digital clocks.
- Adding money (coins). I liked the fact it practices adding four figures mentally. The student can learn to think which numbers are easiest to add first.
- Multiplication tables (1-5)
- Multiplication tables (6-10)
- Division table by 1-5
- Division table by 6-10
- Another money adding puzzle
- Simplifying fractions. I really liked the fact fractions were shown as pictures but the student needs to match them to the numerical form and do the simplifying mentally.
- Factors puzzle – or multiplication tables backwards. This is the best one! It is a very needful topic for 4th-5th graders to practice and here it is in a fun form!
I had my kindergartner try the first skip-counting puzzle, and she completed the first row easily (counting by ones). We worked together with the twos, and soon she was able to do that row too. She liked working with the puzzle a lot and was enthusiastic.
I will definitely continue using the product to let her learn skip-counting, multiplication tables, mental adding, and all the other topics it covers.
I let some friends' children test the puzzles as well. Overall they liked them a lot. The kids commented how they liked this form much better than working in a notebook or flashcard practice.
A mother of a 5th-grader commented, while his son was doing the simplifying fractions puzzle, "This is good for him because he's used to doing it on paper but not in his head." Another mother liked how she could use the puzzles for varying grades as she had several children.
Several children also noted how the "Factors" puzzle was kind of hard, because it really made you think. I think that puzzle is the best one there because it gives nice practice in a very important area: children need to know, not only that 5 × 8 is 40 and 7 × 8 is 56, but what all possibilities there are for (number) × (number) = 36 or (number) × (number) = 20; in other words they need to be able to easily tell the factors of a given (small) number.
The only thing I missed was I would have liked more puzzles in various areas of basic mathematics.
EqualsMath puzzles – Windows software (works in Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP). Free download for EqualsMath at Cnet.com
Review by Maria Miller