Demme Learning gave us a year of access to their Math-U-See Digital Packs for Algebra I for Ceesa to review.
What are Digital Packs?
Math-U-See has made their instructional DVDs available online as streaming videos. Instruction Manual PDFs, lesson and test solutions, record sheet, extra practice pages, and solutions to the extra pages, as well as their Digital Manipulative tool are included through the Algebra I Digital Packs. This is especially convenient for those that would like access to the instruction without having to use the television or pull out the lap top. Generally through the school day, it is easier for us to grab the mini iPad and jump online to complete a school task. Since the videos and manipulatives work online, we are able to pull up the videos and watch them without a significant amount of time spent with set up. Additionally, a child that likes to manipulate tools on the computer would enjoy using the traditional Math-U-See manipulatives online. Using the videos through the Digital Packs also allows you to immediately go back to the exact spot in a section and listen again for clarification.
The Digital Packs are designed to be used with the workbooks, text books, and teacher manuals. They are available for all of the Math-U-See levels. In the younger grades, streaming instruction videos and Instruction Manual PDF, lesson solutions, Skip Count Songs MP3s, Songbook PDFs, and other online resources are available for those levels through the Digital Packs.
Instructional VideosThe instructional videos are taught by Mr. Demme and provide the basis for the lesson components. Each video is anywhere from 4-26 minutes. There are 35 lessons and an introduction to using Math-U-See.
The Digital Manipulative tool has an instructional video that explains in detail how to use it. The tool allows students to write or draw, use the traditional base ten integer blocks in positive or negative numbers, use fraction overlays, algebra blocks, zoom in and out, and clean the board by putting things in the trash. Students can even choose from different styles of mats.
Ceesa would start each new lesson by watching the video. I would go over the teacher text with her and then she would work some of the problems on her own. We would check them together and then she would work more. Each set of lessons is given a number and they are lettered. An example lesson would be in lesson set 3. It has a two pages for each section from 3A-3F and then there are honors pages as well. She would complete one lesson section a day.
Ceesa found the videos helpful, but there were times that I had to rewatch them because she wasn't always transferring the information from the instruction to the workbook. This is the first time we have used Math-U-See, so the process of using their particular manipulatives were new to us.
We discovered that Ceesa really prefers immediate feedback with her lessons, so that it was best for her for me to be close so that after she worked just a couple of problems, I could work them with her. The answers are provided in the teacher's manual, however, we decided it would be best for her to see how I worked it and what I am thinking when I complete the problems. Then she can transfer that knowledge on to her next problem.
Ceesa says her favorite part is the videos. She says that Mr. Demme has a way of explaining the process that makes it easy to understand and it makes it make sense.
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