Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Master Angle Tool by Master Innovations, LLC

Master Innovations Logo

Master Innovations, LLC, is a company that was founded in 1998. According to its creators, the company was "founded by faith", and the products are "direct answers to prayer". Although they started small, their tools are now used in classrooms all across the USA and in China. Students of all ages (as well as adults training for jobs in fields that require some knowledge of math concepts) have been the beneficiaries of these well thought out and cleverly designed items, which all meet NCTM and state standards.

My family was recently given a chance to work with the Master Angle. It is recommended for grades 1-4 but we learned some new things, and it was great reinforcement for what we already knew.

The Master Angle Tool

This is a great little tool, which helps students to draw and measure angles. When used with the accompanying worksheets, it is a very useful way to introduce or reinforce angle related math. The 76 page workbook is fully reproducible. Both the student and teacher work from it. It has the worksheets, the teacher's answer key, a template for a circle, and teaching suggestions.

The Master Angle Workbook

What I like best about the Master Angle is that the course is easy to teach, easy for the student to follow, and the tool is easy to use. My sons have some fine motor delays. They often balk at the drawing part of geometry because they feel clumsy with the implements. They felt comfortable with this. They really liked it.

If you look at the photo of the Master Angle tool, you'll notice it is clear with two stationary radius lines, and there is a movable arm that goes 360 degrees around. There are also clearly marked numbers with accompanying tic marks around the circumference at 5 degree intervals. To see how it works, visit the website and watch the two and a half minute video demonstration.

When I wrote that this course is easy to teach, I wasn't kidding! The workbook is very gentle. Every bit of math vocabulary is introduced and defined in basic language. My somewhat reluctant math students never complained or grumbled. Each concept is explained quite well. For us, there was just enough work to accomplish mastery without crossing over into boredom. Then the next idea was introduced. It flowed well.

Here's how it works. You will start with lines. Lines are simple, right? Next are the angles. The work is interesting and engaging - especially once the tool is introduced for measuring and drawing. I even heard the word "fun", once.

Without much ado, your child will move right into learning about complimentary, supplementary, adjacent and vertical angles before he even realizes that this is somewhat advanced math. As with everything else in the book, the explanations were written so that they were understood quickly by my 5th grade boys. The activities that accompany the lessons are appealing, and some show how these concepts would be applied in a real life situation.

As you move ahead, you will apply these line and angle concepts to polygons and circles. My guys liked adding the sum of the angles in a triangle to find 90 degrees, and the 360 degrees in squares and rectangles. The circle is a bit more involved, but there are plenty of practice pages for reinforcement.

The course work finishes up with some absorbing problems that require a little bit of critical thinking while providing the students a chance to see how all of this great new knowledge might be used in daily life.

Finally, there is an encouraging note from the authors, and a certificate of achievement for completing the course.

I do think this is a worthwhile supplement to a math course. It does a very good job of breaking the ideas into kid sized pieces. I love that they use plain english, and keep things simple. All you need is a tool, a straight edge and the worksheets. Just pick up the pages and follow along. The tool may also be used for any angle related math in the future.

The Master Angle is $5.95, and the book of reproducible worksheets is $15.95. If you are working in a classroom or co-op setting, there is a classroom set available for $149.95 which includes 25 student angles, 1 teacher's angle, and a set of worksheets. All the products are for sale through the vendor's website or by contacting them through email or phone.

Because I wanted to order some additional products, I had the opportunity to use their phone and email support as well as their online ordering system. They were extremely helpful and courteous, and I had no problem with my order.

Here is all of the important contact information:
  • Master Innovations, LLC
  • http://www.themasterruler.com/
  • email : info@themasterruler.com
  • phone: (908)859-1788
  • fax : (908)859-3141
Other products offered by Master Innovations:
  • The Master Ruler
  • The Master Clock
  • Master Fractions
  • an educational poster about measurement
As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Crew I was given a master angle tool and a worksheet book in exchange for blogging my honest opinion about the products. I received no further compensation.