11/28/2012 Update: Make It Real Learning now has a Volume 2 as well. This post was originally a review of Volume 1, but I have added information on Volume 2, as they are very similar. Look at the bottom of the post for a 25%-off coupon good at Make It Real Learning through the end of December 2012!
I recently had the opportunity to review the Make It Real Learning Activity Library–a collection of e-books filled with practical worksheets that truly give students the chance to use math in real-life scenarios. While they do not come from a biblical worldview, their format lends itself to the parent picking and choosing which scenarios to use as well as discussing them further and could be a resource for those wishing to bring in practical examples.
I’ve put my entire review below. If you’ve used the product, please feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment!
Publisher: Make It Real Learning
Grade Level(s): K-College (Volume 1)/K-Grade 3 (Volume 2); see first paragraph below.
Price: $39.99/each volume of e-books (11 in each volume). Note: The publishers have offered a 25% discount (good through the end of 2012) for readers of this blog; this is not an affiliate code, and I do not get any commission on it. I am just passing it along in case any of you wanted to use it. To use the discount, enter christianperspective25 as the code during checkout at www.makeitreallearning.com.
Where to Obtain: www.makeitreallearning.com
Like its name implies, the Make It Real Learning series by Frank C. Wilson seeks to make math real for students, answering the question of “when am I ever going to use this?” Each volume in the series consists of 11 e-books, each one of which contains 10 real-world scenarios. The e-books range from one on fractions, percents, and decimals to e-books on more advanced topics such as geometry, algebra, linear functions, and quadratic functions. The majority of the e-books deal with upper-level concepts. The website offers a general mapping of lessons to grades for volume 2, although homeschool parents should be aware that most homeschoolers are not required to follow these standards* (many homeschool curriculums vary from them) and thus will want to look at the lessons to see if their student knows the needed skills.
Each real-world scenario stands on its own and can be printed and handed straight to the student. Duplicate worksheets containing answers (and often detailed solutions) are included. The formatting is professional and clean. The scenarios could be used as periodic assignments to both provide a refreshing break from everyday math lessons and to teach students to use math practically. The e-books do not typically present any of the math itself (so you will want to make sure your child knows the information needed to complete the scenario); they are designed for the student to apply what he has learned or is learning to real-life scenarios.
The scenarios themselves vary greatly. Some of them rank among the most excellent, well-thought-out activities I have encountered. For example, students will get to find the cost of keeping a pet (using real petsmart.com data), make cell phone comparisons and investment decisions, examine different pool designs, and understand the math behind various pieces of data all around us we take for granted. On the flip side, the books also include scenarios mentioning topics I found unnecessary, such as AIDS and teen pregnancy. I would plan on finding some great scenarios, but know that you also might find some you would not want to use or would want to discuss. Many of the topics, such as those on health or population issues, warrant discussions and explorations of a biblical worldview of that topic. Others, such as those that examine aspects of God’s creation (such as the phases of the moon or the order in sound waves) just need a reminder that God is the One who put this incredible universe together. Since the material comes as an e-book, you have the ability to select just the scenarios that will work for your family by screening them on the computer and printing only those you want when you want them.
The thing I loved about many of the scenarios is that, unlike a typical word problem, they really take the student into the scenario and let them experience the decision in a way few math books even approach. When used selectively, I can see them being wonderful ways to present math as a practical tool, especially in the high school years where textbooks focus more and more on abstract math.
The publishers have offered a 25% discount (good through the end of 2012) for readers of this blog; this is not an affiliate code, and I do not get any commission on it. I am just passing it along in case any of you wanted to use it. To use the discount, enter christianperspective25 as the code during checkout at www.makeitreallearning.com.
Disclosure: I requested and received a free copy of this product to review. See my review policy here.
* For information on homeschool laws by state, see www.HSLDA.org. This is not meant to be legal advice. Requirements vary state by state.
After having her own view of math transformed, Katherine has been researching, writing, and speaking on a biblical worldview of math for more than a decade. Her books on math and a biblical worldview have been used by individuals, homeschool groups, and Christian schools and colleges, and she recently finished a junior high math curriculum. Receive her free Math from a Biblical Worldview e-mail course at mathisnotneutral.com