Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Evan-Moor Daily Word Problems - (Math) ~ A Review

One of the advantages of homeschooling my sons is that I rarely hear the lament of most school children; "When am I ever going to use this?"  I can show them every single day just by cooking, shopping, gardening, communicating, writing emails, blogging, banking, budgeting, going out to lunch, etc, how they will use math, language arts, vocabulary, conversational skills, science and the many other topics we cover.

Another way I show them is by using word problems.  Word problems are a fantastic way to warm up their brains and to reinforce math concepts.  Thanks to the TimberDoodle Company, we recently had the opportunity to work with the Evan-Moor Daily Word Problems math book.  There is a book for every grade level from Grade One to Grade Six.  We worked with the sixth grade book.  Correlated to meet state standards, this book is laid out quite nicely. 

Designed for a typical school year, there is a problem for each day of the week for 36 weeks.  The type of problems vary so that the student doesn't get bored, but all of the problems for a week tie into each other.  Monday through Thursday the problems are fairly easy and only require one or two steps.  The Friday problem is a bit more involved.  For example, the first week's theme was a swimming meet.  On Monday we figured out how many swimmers would be attending, for Tuesday we had a problem about water temperatures.  On Wednesday we figured out a distance problem, and Thursday's problem was about times.  Finally on Friday there was a logic problem where we used clues to figure out who placed first through fifth in a race.  In subsequent weeks our problems were related to a garage sale, a trip to the zoo, a pet store, and a concert.

The book is reproducible, so I copied the pages and used them with  both boys.  We talked through the problems, picking out key words, and deciding which operations would be best to use.  I worked on the whiteboard while they worked on their worksheets.  This 5 minute (or less) exercise requires the boys to use logic and critical thinking applied to daily life situations, and remind them that yes, they WILL need to use this in real life.

For parents of math phobic children, there is a great guide in the front of the book that gives helpful tips for encouraging students who typically recoil at word problems.  (The back of the book also has an answer key, in case Mom is the one who has problems.  :)  )

From the Publisher's Description

    Mathematics skills practiced include:

    multi-digit addition and subtraction
    1-, 2-, and 3-digit multiplication
    1-, 2-, and 3-digit divisors
    time and money fractions
    decimals and percents
    reading and interpreting graphs and charts
    average, mode, range
    area, perimeter and volume
    logic
    linear measurement
    weight and capacity
How they make the math more fun and less stressful:
Cookie Recipes & Allowance  Whether your children realize it or not, they use math every day, from doubling the cookie recipe to banking their allowance. But mention word problems and most children recoil. Word problems are designed to show that the mathematical principles your children are learning are related to the mathematical problems they will encounter in real life. 
Repeated, Daily Exposure  Most math textbooks emphasize rote drillwork. But real life applications, the most important part of any subject matter, are often overlooked. Yet even if a math curriculum includes the national norm of about 10% word problems, most children benefit greatly from repeated, daily exposure. With just minutes a day, Daily Word Problems will help your children apply mathematical knowledge to analyze and solve real-world problems. 
Mimicking Real Life  The hardest thing about doing word problems is taking the words and translating them into the math equation, so though the use of interesting themes, charts, and graphs, Daily Word Problems will help your child see patterns to solving these types of problems. Daily Word Problems' inclusion of diverse word problems to mimic the problems faced in the real world will help your children to understand that no matter what occupation they choose, they will need math.

Boy Two Evan Moor Math

Here is Boy Two working on a daily problem.  The sheets are set up so there are two problems per page, except on Friday, when the longer problem takes up a whole page.  They leave plenty of room for scratch work, too, which I liked a lot.  Here is an example of a problem.

Evan Moor Math

In this photo, Boy One is working on a Friday problem.

Boy One - evan Moor Math

As  I mentioned, this is a full sheet of paper, and requires several steps to get a solution.  Here is the page we were working on this day.

Even Moor Math

TimberDoodle offers other Evan Moor books as well, including geography, language arts, and writing.

If you are not familiar with the TimberDoodle company, they area great resource for homeschooling families.  they offer so much!  From complete curriculum, to toys and games, software, parenting  and even autism resources.   You can look around the website, (www.timberdoodle.com) or order their FREE catalog by visiting the site.

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**  I was given this book in order to write an informed review about the product.  I as not compensated for this review, nor am I affiliated with the company.  My opinions are my own.