Wild About Math! Making Math fun and accessible

7Jan/082

Review: Math Mammoth Geometry 1 Elementary Math Workbook

I know Maria Miller through her Homeschool Math Blog. As a fellow Math blogger I like to know what others in my community are up to so I follow her blog along with others. I'm also aware that Maria has a series of Math worktexts (workbook + textbook) and worksheets that she offers online through her Math Mammoth business.

I was curious about Maria's offerings and thought that others might be as well, especially homeschool parents, so I asked Maria for a review copy of one of her books. What follows is an unpaid review. I am not currently reselling Maria's books although I might in the future. Beyond a free copy of the book I am reviewing I have received no other form of payment.

I chose the Math Mammoth Geometry 1 Elementary Math Workbook to review. It's a 113 page book, filled with great explorations, clear explanations, and nice illustrations. And it sells for all of $5 as an electronically downloadable PDF file. This is a great value and the deal is even better for folks ordering a number of different books as a set to download or on CD.

This Geometry book is in the Blue Series. Blue Series books are those that combine explanations with exercises. The idea is that many students will be able to work through the book on their own or with just a little bit of help. Also, the book is thorough and clear enough in its explanations that a Math-shy parent should be able to work through this book with a child. This Geometry book is suitable for grades 4 through 6.

To be honest, not being an educator, I found it difficult to keep track of which book in which color series is suited to which kinds of learning experiences for which students in which grades. Having said that, Maria does an excellent job of providing all of this information on the Math Mammoth web-site, where there are links going down the left side of the page to very thorough information about each book in each color series.

The first thing I noticed, after chuckling at how great a tongue twister "Math Mammoth" is, was how "friendly" the book was. The illustrations are cheery. Color is used nicely. There's lots of information packed into the book yet it doesn't feel cluttered at all. The exercises are very inviting.

The book has an introduction, 26 chapters, answers to problems, and a little bit of personal information about Maria. You can get quite a bit of information about this particular book at her site, including a pretty thorough description of the contents plus some samples of what's in the book.

Geometry is great fun because it's a very hands on subject. This book reflects that as it's chock-filled with activities.

I particularly enjoyed the creative quadrilaterals puzzle where there a bunch of quadrilaterals, each with a letter assigned to it. The student has to identify the right quadrilateral based on a number of fun and clever descriptions. The letters matched to the proper descriptions spell out a message.

There are a number of clever exercises using graph paper (the student can write right in the book) where children get to rotate, flip, and slide drawings to make transformed versions of the original. Children are also invited to create their own shapes and to perform geometric transformations on them.

Maria does a great job of introducing new terms at a steady but not overwhelming pace. This is important as geometry has lots of vocabulary associated with it and pacing the introduction of new terms is important.

I was very very impressed with the Geometry book. I had never realized how many concepts Geometry contained and I was also impressed with Maria's rigor in covering them all systematically and in a very upbeat but not childish way. In the "about" section at the back of the book is this from Maria:

The aim of my books is first and foremost to explain math in very simple terms, yet rigorously, concentrating on understanding of concepts. I use picture exercises a lot because they are sort of equivalent to playing with manipulatives and help children understand how math works. After those, come more abstract exercises.

Maria achieves her aim.