Mathletics - Making Math FunTuesday, August 09, 2016
Ever since I was a child, I loved math. I loved how straightforward simple math equations were, the ways we could manipulate them in algebra and how useful they were in geometry. I loved math so much that I would often skip ahead to the next chapter and explore concepts before we covered them in class, which meant I was usually ahead of the class. In grades 7 and 8, I jumped at the opportunity to participate in Gauss Mathematics contests and thrived later in high school when I elected to study calculus under the direction of any equally passionate math instructor. I remember being surrounded by several of my peers who harboured a love of math and the feeling of pride that I felt when I could provide a different solution to the same problem that no one else had thought of. In fact, my strong abilities in math were a great boost to my self-confidence during a period of my life where I didn't quite fit in socially.
Now that I have kids of my own who are growing up in a digital age, I believe that math and computational skills are more important than ever before. I have to remind myself, however, that math doesn't come easily to everyone as it did for me. While my son has been able to quickly grasp math concepts, my daughter has built up a wall of resistance. I don't know exactly what the reason may be but, when it comes to doing math homework, she doesn't want to do it. In short, she hates it. And that breaks my heart. We have tried supporting her with her homework, purchasing additional math practice workbooks and flash cards, and have even contemplated enrolling her in an after-school program. What I am slowly discovering is that, once we remove the pressures of completing math activities under our watchful eye and replace it with something that is fun, engaging and targeted to her needs, learning math can actually be fun. And I have Mathletics to thank for it.
What is Mathletics?
Mathletics is an online educational resource that is transforming the way students learn math. Designed to support students in a supportive environment, Mathletics targets and adapts content based on the learning pace of each individual child and aligns with provincial math curricula in Canada. The program offers a Concept Search feature where children can find an interactive and visual dictionary of mathematical terms, a variety of problem solving puzzles that explore real-world math problems, and, for younger children, Rainforest Math, a vibrant area of Mathletics with easier activities.
|Students can earn weekly certificates based on the amount of points earned.|
What We Love About Mathletics
For the past month, both of my children have been testing out the Mathletics program. Off the bat, I knew it would be well-received by both of them because they were able to download the tablet version on their iPad Minis. This gives them a better sense of ownership and allows them greater freedom to practice their math skills at a time that is best suited to them. They have the option of selecting "something easier" if they are struggling or "something harder" if they want to challenge themselves. My only requirement is that they each complete a certain number of activities of their own choosing where they achieve a gold bar. This means they have successfully completed 85% of the activity. The good thing is that they can attempt an activity as many times as they like and will still get points for every correct answer. Plus, they receive real-time results with automatic marking and, as they progress in understanding, the activity automatically adapts to their level.
As a parent, I love the ability to monitor their progress by way of weekly reports that summarize the number of times my children have signed in, the total length of time spent and the number of points they have earned. It also details which curriculum activities they have attempted and how well they scored. I also have the option of signing into the Family Centre and assigning particular tasks so that the next time they sign in, those must be completed first. For example, my daughter has spent a lot of time on Number and Place Value activities, so I have assigned tasks from Multiply and Divide Facts.
Making Math Fun
While the gamification elements of earning points and certificates in Mathletics motivates my kids to improve their math skills, I have found that LIVE Mathletics has been the greatest motivator. LIVE Mathletics matches them up with kids from all over the world in a real-time, fast-paced challenge where they must answer mental math questions in a 60 second time limit. My kids are so amazed when they get to compete with kids as far away as Australia and have so much fun, they lose track of time. I was a little hesitant at first because I was concerned about privacy. However, there is no direct communication and student details are kept anonymous. Plus, I was reassured to learn that Mathletics is fully compliant with the most recent data privacy legislation ("FIPPA", "PIPEDA" and "PIIDPA) and all student data highly encrypted and stored on secure servers based in Canada. So, not only are my kids having fun, I can enjoy peace of mind while they play and learn online. As an added bonus, Mathletics activities can be downloaded directly to their tablets so that they keep up their practice while on the road.
Mathletics is available for students in grades K-10. Parents can purchase a 3-month subscription for as little as $35. Half year and full year subscriptions are also available. For more information, please visit Mathletics.ca.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by 3P Learning, the makers of Mathletics. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own.