New Video – Math Overview

Math from a Biblical Worldview

Description: God…and math??? How can math be presented biblically? What does God have to do with math? Learn more in this short (2:23) video.

Note: If a picture says a thousand words, how many does a video say?

For some time now, I’ve been feeling the need for a very short video on math from a biblical worldview that could serve as an introduction to new visitors to this site and a resource our subscribers could use to easily share the message about math with their friends.

So at long last, here it is. I would love to hear your feedback…and would be delighted if you use the share button on YouTube to share the video with your friends.

Katherine

Free Math Video & Information
Subscribe to our biblical math blog and get a free Transforming Math video.
We respect your privacy.

Math Moment with Divi: Counting the Stars

For a long time, I’ve dreamed of using video as a vehicle to communicate about God’s handiwork in math. Below is my first attempt: a 35-second video in which Divi (a division sign) sets out to count the stars…and realizes just how much bigger God is than we could ever imagine.

Please let me know what you think…and feel free to share the video with a friend.

Feedback Needed: New Book Title

I’m embarking on a supplemental book for high school students on math. My brother, a computer engineer, has agreed to write it with me, and we’re excited about getting into it.

But we could use help picking a title!

Below are three titles we are considering. Could you tell me what each title “says” to you? What would you expect to find inside the book? And which one do you think would most interest your teen in taking a look?

  1. Exposing Math
  2. More to Math
  3. Understanding Math

We would probably add a subtitle to whichever one we chose that included something along the lines of “Math from a Biblical Worldview” or “Exploring Math from a Biblical Worldview” or “Developing a Biblical Worldview of Math.” We’ve been toying with the subtitles.

We appreciate your thoughts, as well as your prayers for the project.

P.S. I know it’s hard without knowing what is inside the book to assess titles, but I’m purposefully not posting much information to find out what these titles alone say to you (and your teens).

Mammoth Math Curriculum – And Free Worksheet Generators

Math Mammoth Review

Note: Please see these general guidelines and thoughts to help you as you choose math curriculum. Please also see our review policy disclosure, which is to comply with FTC regulations and explains our review policy.

I recently had the opportunity to review the Mammoth Math curriculum–a unique curriculum with lots of options (you can purchase it by grade or by concept, and it comes as either a download, physical CD, or printed material). Its flexibility could make it a good fit for those looking for a way to review or teach a specific concept or for a flexible textbook approach.

Whether you’re looking for a curriculum or not, you may want to check out the wide variety of free worksheet generators Mammoth Math/HomeschoolMath.net offers. The generators cover concepts ranging from the typical (such as addition and fractions) to the more unusual (such as foreign currencies and scientific notation)–and they’re all quite customizable. The ones on foreign currencies especially might be a fun supplement to use alongside learning about different countries. You could even cut out the coins from the worksheets, making them into pretend money, and then set up an imaginary store and buy things in the foreign currency. Make it even more challenging by looking up the exchange rate and estimating the cost in U.S. dollars!

The site also offers a downloadable sample of the curriculum that includes a generous amount of materials (more than 300 pages) when you sign up for their newsletter or their “Math Mammoth Tour” (an e-mail a day for seven days on the curriculum).

I’ve put my entire review below. If you’ve used the product, please feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment!

Disclosure: I requested and received a free copy of this product to review. See my review policy here.

Math Mammoth ReviewReview of  Math Mammoth

Publisher: Math Mammoth (written by Maria Miller)
Grade Level(s):
Curriculum series covers grades 1-6; worksheet series covers grades 3-8.
Price:
$32/grade for the complete curriculum as a download; downloads on individual topics are available for less than $7 each; worksheets only (no teaching text) and discounted bundle packages are also available. Print versions are available (prices vary) through LuLu.
Where to Obtain:
www.mathmammoth.com

Math Mammoth offers both a complete curriculum series for grades 1-6 (their Light Blue Series) and the same basic material arranged by concept (their Blue Series) for those looking for a workbook on a specific concept as opposed to an entire grade. They also have just worksheets without concept presentations for grades 3-8 available, although these Golden and Green series would be more suitable for tutors or classroom teachers than for homeschoolers.

The material is available in either a digital format (either downloadable or on a CD) or a printed format. The digital format cuts down on the initial cost, although you will need to print out the worksheets yourself.

This curriculum is designed to be extremely flexible—the author, a math teacher and homeschool mother from Finland, encourages users to use the books as a “framework,” spending as little or as much time as needed rather than focusing on finishing the entire book. In her “User Guide,” she explains that while some pages are filled with drill problems, parents only need to assign the number the child needs—even if that is only one half or two thirds of the total ones given (a suggestion I heartily echo, no matter what curriculum you use).

Each chapter covers a concept and includes an overview for the parents, a list of related online resources, and presentations and worksheets for the students. The author has also created online worksheet generators (see www.homeschoolmath.net/worksheets) parents can use to generate additional worksheets if needed (although there are an ample number of worksheets in the books themselves).

As far as content goes, I appreciate how the curriculum tries to explain concepts with understanding and brings in practical word problems or examples. The program also uses a lot of pictures to help students connect abstract numbers with real-life objects. I did not notice examples of math in science, historical information, or any mentions of the Lord. The program includes a lot of game suggestions and links as supplements. Parents will want to selectively use the links and supplement the material with more science and history examples, as well as bring in the biblical perspective. The program also contains a lot of problems for each concept, and I definitely would echo the author’s reminder to only use what you need.

I see the program’s greatest strength as an inexpensive way to review or teach a specific concept. For example, if your child is struggling with fractions, you could purchase the fractions material from the Blue Series and work through some of the pages. I know a mother who is using it that way and really liking it. Since the material comes as a download, you only need to print out what you need. It could also be a good fit for those looking for a flexible textbook approach.

Free Online Workshops on Math and a Biblical Worldview – Next Week

I just found out that the Homeschool Channel will be streaming workshops by James Nickel, author of Mathematics: Is God Silent?, next week (April 11-15). I’ve copied below the schedule.

If you’re able to listen in, I’m sure they will be filled with thought-provoking ideas. Mr. Nickel is an incredible mathematician who has spent years exploring how math can be taught from a biblical worldview. It was his book that first opened my eyes to God’s handiwork in this oft-misunderstood subject.

Monday, 4 p.m. EDT Ep. 203 – Algebra: The Language of Science
Tuesday, 4 p.m. EDT  Ep. 210 – The Third R – Restoring the Rudiments
Wednesday, 4 p.m. EDT Ep. 219 – Mathematics: Is God Silent?
Thursday, 4 p.m. EDT Ep. 232 – Study Habits from the Proverbs
Friday,  4 p.m. EDT Ep. 245 – A Truly Christian View of Education

To watch, just visit www.thehomeschoolchannel.tv at the specified date and time.

Note: If you miss these showings, I was told the videos will be played again periodically (check the program guide each week to find out when). The videos will also be available for sale; you will need to designate the episode number and name in the notes section of the web  order form.

Make It Real Learning Activity Library

Make It Real Learning Library

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!

Review of  Make It Real Learning Activity Library

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.

25%-Off Coupon Code

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.

An Article on Mathematics Education Worth Reading

A reader recently shared with me an article on teaching math titled “A Generous Education in Mathematics” (by Alice Horrocks). I found the article refreshing, as it echoed many of my own sentiments.

Written by a Ph.D. in math who has taught at the university level and is now homeschooling her children, the article encourages parents to see math as much more than memorization and skills. It shows how teaching math in a way more connected with history and life–which I would add is the natural outcome of embracing a biblical perspective toward math–leads toward the type of math education we ought to be providing.

After discussing what constitutes true education in math, the article explores what math is (including a paragraph about how “math is a description of the order God has put into His creation”) and some practical ways to truly educate children in math. I particularly liked the article’s comparison of math to music. Much as you would not want to just teach children musical scales, you would not want to just teach children to memorize times tables. Math, like music, should be more than drills.

You can read the article in Volume 1, Issue 3 of Magnanimity: A Charlotte Mason and Classical Education Newsletter. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

(To Mrs. P, thank you again for sending me this link.)

Math Behind Fireworks, GPS Units, and More

This week, I thought it might be helpful to take just a moment to reflect on teaching math OUTSIDE of the textbook. Since math describes the consistencies God placed and sustains all around us, we find it useful in all sorts of situations–including ones that don’t instantly make us think of math.

For example, this past July 4, our family went to see the fireworks. As I was watching the fireworks, I wondered how they timed the fireworks so perfectly. It hit me: they must use math! Sure enough, a quick Internet search later confirmed my suspicions. (If you’d like to learn more, see www.ohiorc.org/pm/math/richproblemmath.aspx?pmrid=16 for a somewhat technical description.)

On the way home from the firework display, we plugged in the GPS unit. How did the unit know where we were? Once again, it was using math! Here are two easy-to-understand resources I found that offer an overview of the math behind GPS units.

http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/travel/gps1.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zRlbboMvb0

My point is simply that if we take the time to explore how something works (the mechanics behind a device), we’ll likely find yet another example of math in action. Being inquisitive about everyday life will turn up lots of wonderful opportunities to show your children that math is a tool to describe consistencies in God’s creation.

Free Videos: For All Practical Purposes

For All Practical Purposes

For All Practical PurposesFirst of all, thank you to everyone who provided feedback on the cover! It was VERY helpful. The graphic designer was able to make a few changes based on the concerns raised, making what I believe will be both a catchy and meaningful cover (I love the final design). Now it’s time to make some updates to the inside material and get it off to the printer : )

Secondly, I’d like to let you all know about a free video series that’s available on Google Videos: For All Practical Purposes. This series of 26 half-hour episodes does an excellent job presenting math’s practical uses in a fun and meaningful way. I was blessed by watching them several years ago when I was first beginning my  research, but I didn’t realize they were still available online until a website reader e-mailed me this past week with the news. (Thank you, Angela!)

A far cry from a boring classroom presentation, these videos make math both interesting and exciting through real-life examples and footage. I loved how the series made complex concepts simple, enabling the viewer to learn without even realizing it. One or two of the videos have very brief sections that discuss evolution from a non-biblical perspective, but on the whole the videos stayed clear of the topic of origins and focused on math’s practical uses. Since these videos were produced in the 1980s, a few videos feature rather archaic computers; however, the principles the videos present about math in action have not really changed.

This series is great for high-school students (or younger with assistance). One idea would be to watch a video a week as a supplement to your middle school or high school math course as a way of showing math’s usefulness in real-life situations–a usefulness that’s only possible because our consistent, faithful God holds all things together! The company that made this series has also produced a full sized high-school/college textbook by the same title. I was able to purchase one through AbeBooks (http://www.abebooks.com) for $3.99, including shipping.