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Frequently Asked Questions - Math Mammoth Light Blue Series

Find here the answers to most questions concerning Math Mammoth Light Blue series (the complete curriculum). For starters, the video below explains a brief overview (basics) of the curriculum.


Download a catalog of Light Blue Series (PDF, 7.2 MB)

1. Do you have placement / diagnostic tests?

2. Is there a teacher's manual?

3a. Are there printed versions available?

3b. Can we buy the downloads and then take them to a Kinko's or Staples type place to have the book printed up and bound nicely?

3c. I hesitate to buy MM because I can't print in color. Any suggestions?

4. Can I buy it on a CD?

4b. Is there any advantage for buying the curriculum on a CD?

4c. Does it work on a Mac, Linux, or Chromebook?

4d. Can the PDF be filled in on the computer or tablet device (iPad or similar)?

4e. How can I use the PDF files for distance learning?

5. What is a worktext?

6. What is the difference between the Blue Series and Light Blue series?

7. How does the complete curriculum (Light Blue books) compare with Singapore math,
    Math-U-See, or other popular homeschool math curricula?

8. Are earlier concepts reviewed in later levels?

9. I am concerned that there won't be enough review. Do the books have review problems that continue to review previous concepts?

10 Are tests included? And should I score every assignment or just tests?

11. Are there video lessons available?

12. What about kindergarten math? At what age is it appropriate to start your 1st grade books?

13. Will you be writing more grade levels?

14. How far can I use the Light Blue series? Will it cover pre-algebra or algebra?

15. How do I pace the Light Blue curriculum? How many pages or worksheets per day should
    the child do?

16. How will I know when to review with computer games or worksheets rather than continuing? How will I know when to take a break and review an old concept so it will not be lost? Is this type of review incorporated in the program?

17. For drilling the addition and substraction tables should we just go over each lesson
    over and over until she memorizes her tables?

18. Are there lesson plans available?

19. Is Math Mammoth aligned with any state standards?

20. Does Math Mammoth curriculum encourage the use of manipulatives?

21. How and when to use the 100-bead abacus?

22. My son is having trouble with the word problems. I'd like him to get more practice with them. Is there a place to get more worksheets for word problems?

23. We are using the Light Blue Grade 1A. The kids ran into their first Puzzle Corner. I love it! However, it was pretty difficult for them. Should I give them more of those for practice before we move on?

24. Is Math Mammoth a spiral or mastery curriculum (horizontal or vertical math)?

25. Some graphics are missing from the PDF file. Why?

26. If my child needs extra practice, could I use the Golden series worksheet collections for that?

27. What can we do with Flash-based games listed in the introductions and lesson plans after 2020?

28. What is the origin of this curriculum?

29. What do you recommend for high school math?

30. Where can I get Mathy the mascot mammoth?

31. Do you have a certificate of completion to give children for completing their grade levels?

32. Does the author have any mathematics or education credentials?



1. Do you have placement / diagnostic tests?

Yes. Simply click here for placement tests for all the grade-levels.



2. Is there a teacher's manual?

No. This curriculum does not contain a separate teacher's manual nor scripted lessons. The student worktext contains in the text itself explanations of the concepts, and I've tried to create a text that is as self-explanatory as possible. Students will often be able to read and study through the lessons on their own. The parent can "get it" at the same time as the student, if they have not understood math concepts before.

However, there are lots of videos that match the lessons in the curriculum, and those are often very useful in helping children learn the concepts. Also, in the introduction of each chapter I have included some general notes and helps for the teacher. And, of course the curriculum does include full answer keys.

If you have previously used a scripted curriculum and are worried about your ability to teach with Math Mammoth, I would encourage you to try it out by purchasing one of the Blue Series topical books as they contain the same lessons as the full curriculum (just arranged by topics instead of grade levels).



3a. Are there printed versions available?

Yes. The Light Blue series books are available as paperbacks in these stores:

  • Rainbow Resource Center sells perfect-bound copies, both with black-and-white inside pages (cheaper) and with full-color pages.
  • Lulu.com sells spiral-bound student texts (color). The answer keys & tests are also available. You will also find the international version at Lulu.
  • You can also find the Light Blue series books at Amazon. It is typical though that their search (when searching with the titles) only produces the ones with grayscale interior pages. To find full-color editions on Amazon, search there with the exact ISBN number. (Download a list of Math Mammoth perfect bound books ISBN numbers; fall 2019. This document does not include the books available at Lulu as they don't have ISBN numbers.)

On each product's page at MathMammoth.com you will find direct links to purchase printed copies at Rainbow Resource Center or Lulu.

Read more about the printed books here.



3b. Can we buy the downloads and then take them to a Kinko's or Staples type place to have the book printed up and bound nicely?

Yes. The copyright notice that is printed on page 2 specifically allows the person who purchases the book(s) to make copies — whether by Kinko's or their own printer — to his or her students, but not to other teacher's students.

You can also use online printing services such as Mimeo.com or Bestvaluecopy.com. The Homeschool Printing Company have the best pricing I've seen. Here's one other company with decent pricing: Family Nest Printing.

Please do NOT use services that are meant for self-publishing, such as xpress.lulu.com or press.barnesandnoble.com. Those services are meant for publishing/printing a book that YOU own a copyright to.



3c. I hesitate to buy MM because I can't print in color. Any suggestions?

1) Print in b&w, but let the child color the boxes the problems are in, using crayons.

2) Utilize the online games recommended in the notes for each chapter for the "color" (so to speak). It works for some!



4. Can I buy it on a CD?

Yes. You can purchase each of the grade levels of the Light Blue series on a CD at Rainbow Resource Center. You can buy all available grade levels on one CD here at MathMammoth.com website, at Rainbow Resource Center, or at Homeschool Buyers Co-op (at special sales).


4b. Is there any advantage for buying the curriculum on a CD?

Usually no, because the CD contains the exact same files as the download. Also, if you purchase a download, you may make a backup copy of the files on a CD or on a flash drive.

However, a CD is a good option if you cannot download large files. Some people may prefer a CD so they can sell their used copy after using it, or so as to not lose track where the files are stored. Even if you purchase a CD, I recommend you make a backup copy, because CDs do not last forever.



4c. Does it work on a Mac, Linux, Chromebook?

Yes. The actual files you get (whether from a download or on a CD) are PDF or html files so Math Mammoth is compatible with Mac, Linux, Chromebook, and any other operating system where you can open PDF files.

However, you may need to install Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the PDF files correctly. For example, I've had some customers tell me that Mac's native PDF viewer shows black boxes in the files, or that many of the graphics are missing. Similarly in Linux, some images will likely be missing or messed up if you use other PDF viewers. I don't at this time have experience or feedback from Chromebook users.

For certain Math Mammoth products, you will also (just initially) need a program or app that handles zip files. A zip file is like a "package" that you will need to open in order to access the PDF files inside it. On Windows, Mac, and Linux computers, you simply right-click the zip file, and choose "Extract" or "unzip". On a Chromebook, please see http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/3-simple-ways-zip-unzip-files-chromebook/

Please note that the bonus software "Soft-Pak" is Windows software only. However, Soft-Pak is not a part of the actual curriculum and is not needed when using Math Mammoth — it is only an additional bonus.



4d. Can the PDF be filled in on the computer or tablet device (iPad or similar)?

Yes, it can. The PDF files are enabled for annotating. This means that the student can fill in the Math Mammoth PDF files on a computer (PC or Mac) or on a tablet device.

Use version 9 or greater of Adobe Reader. It has the "add text" and drawing (annotation) tools. This short video below explains how to do it using Adobe Reader version DC.

In earlier versions of Adober Reader (such as 9, 10, and 11), the "add text comment" tool looks like in this image.

For filling in PDF files online, you can use for example DocHub.com. Another option is to use the Chrome extension Kami. Kami also works for PDF files inside Google Classroom.

For iPad, there exist several PDF apps that have annotating tools and work well for Math Mammoth files: PDF Expert ($9.99), Goodreader ($2.99), iAnnotatePDF ($9.99). You can add text, lines, and shapes, or use a stylus to write. The apps neu.AnnotatePDF ($1.99) and Notability ($2.99) work also, but are not as user-friendly as the other three.

Adobe Reader app for iPad (free) unfortunately does not allow annotating protected PDF files (such as I have to use with Math Mammoth). So, you cannot write into the PDF on your iPad with Adobe Reader (Adobe Reader for PC and Mac works great though.)

For Android devices, you might check out Xodo PDF Reader & editor.



4e. How can I use the PDF files for distance learning?

For distance learning, I prefer you not share the entire PDF files with students, but instead, just give the students a few pages at a time.

Here is a simple method for extracting a few pages from a PDF file. It is done using Google Chrome.

  1. Open the PDF file in Chrome.
  2. Go to "Print" (Ctrl+P).
  3. Print to PDF, and choose the page range.
  4. Click the "Save" button.

Then, you also need to instruct students as to how to fill in the PDF file on a computer or a device — please see the answer above (#4d).



5. What is a worktext?

Worktext means that the book contains both the "text" (= the explanations) and the "work" (= the problems). Simply put, the textbook and problems are in the same book. This is especially useful for homeschooling and for any kind of independent study.



6. What is the difference between the Blue Series and Light Blue series?

These two series have nearly the same materials. There are only a few very minor differences: few pages here and there that are in one series but not in the other. Other than that, both series have the same lessons (same teaching, same practice problems).

The main difference is in how the material is organized. The Light Blue Series goes by grades and being a complete curriculum also includes tests & cumulative reviews. The Blue Series consists of topical worktexts, and the material in each book usually spans 2-3 grade levels.

So, which series you choose depends on your goals: Do you wish to have a complete curriculum for a given grade level? Go Light Blue. Do you wish to review or reteach only certain topics? Choose Blue. Do you want to cover all topics as in a full curriculum but without mentions of grade levels? Blue Series can work there as well.



7. How does the complete curriculum (Light Blue books) compare with Singapore math, Math-U-See, or other popular homeschool math curricula?

Please read comparisons of Math Mammoth with other homeschool math curricula here.



8. Are earlier concepts reviewed in later levels?

To some extent, yes, but not so much as in a typical spiral curriculum. For example, I often introduce somewhat difficult topics in two grades. A few topics are "introductory" in one grade and "in focus" in the next. For example:

  • Addition where the result goes over 10 (such as 6 + 8) is included in the last half of 1st grade and first half of 2nd grade.
  • Regrouping in subtraction is studied both in 2nd and 3rd (mostly in 2nd).
  • The concept of multiplication is introduced in the very end of 2nd grade but studied in depth in 3rd.
  • Multi-digit multiplication is studied in length in the 4th grade, and studied once more in 5th (5-A).
  • Similarly, long division is studied both in 4th and 5th.
  • Decimals are introduced in 4th grade, then studied in-depth in 5th, and reviewed in 6th.
  • Fractions are introduced in 2nd and 3rd grades, and studied some more in 4th. In 5th grade, they are in "focus". Then they are reviewed in 6th grade.

Topics such as place value, measuring units, geometry, clock, and money are covered over several years in a spiraling style.

The following topics are not reviewed much in later levels (mastery is expected): single-digit addition and subtraction after 1st grade, double-digit addition and subtraction after 2nd, and reading the clock and counting coins after 3rd grade. The multiplication tables and basic division facts receive a quick review in 4th grade but not after that. I cannot list every single concept and its progression in this short space though.



9. I am concerned that there won't be enough review. Do your books have review problems that continue to review previous concepts?

First, the program includes mixed review lessons (one near the end of each chapter) and additional (separate) cumulative review lessons that you can use when needed. Both of these cover a mix of topics that have already been studied.

Scondly, you can also use the worksheet maker to generate additional worksheets for practice. This worksheet generator requires an Internet access. If you don't have Internet at home, you can use it in an Internet cafe, public library, or at a friend's house, and save the worksheets on a flash drive to print later.

Third, the introduction of each chapter lists some online games and resources, which can often be used for review.

Fourth, the curriculum includes a lot of the word problems continually, and those word problems review topics from earlier chapters, because the word problems require the usage of several concepts all at once. In other words, I have not included very many word problems that ONLY focus on the topic of the lesson at hand — most of them cover a "larger area". For example, a word problem found in a multiplication lesson might require both multiplication and addition to solve. Similarly, word problems in the other chapters (such as money, measuring, division, or fractions) will include the usage of multiplication. This is a unique feature of Math Mammoth curriculum.

Also, all the major concepts, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, decimals, and fractions get reviewed in a sense because they are used all the time. For example, a child will keep using the multiplication tables when studying division and multi-digit multiplication. The student will use various addition and subtraction strategies in word problems about money and measuring and when studying place value. Division facts are used in long division.

Almost lastly, you can use the online practice section of MathMammoth.com website to practice some math topics, such as the multiplication tables, mental addition & subtraction, finding factors, and more.

Lastly, we now offer supplemental Skills Review Workbooks, which provide additional review in a SPIRAL manner, matching the progression of topics in the Light Blue series curriculum.



10. Are tests included? And should I score every assignment or just tests?

Yes. There is a test for each chapter and an end-of-year test to be used after each grade level. Each test includes a grading rubric. However, you don't have to follow the grading rubrics -- they are provided for you just in case you want to use them.

Personally, I feel that grading needs to be done in such a manner that it doesn't discourage the child. So it really depends on the child. Some children do better if they only receive feedback about where they need to work more, how to fix errors, etc.

All grading is best accompanied with notes such as, "You worked hard and I appreciate that!" "Here you show you've learned this topic and worked hard in it," so that the emphasis is on the appreciation of the hard work and on giving feedback on specifics, and not on the actual percent score.

On the other hand, if a child is getting a "big head" (proud) over their accomplishments, you could find a really hard test so they can learn they have room to improve. But this is not nearly as common as the opposite situation where children are discouraged and think they "can't do math".

I don't recommend grading the day-to-day work with percent scores or letter grades. Of course you need to find if the student made errors, but that should be sufficient.

Also, when you assign a final mark for a whole grade, don't look at only the tests but also at the overall accomplishments, the effort, etc. I like to give my children assignments outside of tests that count towards the final mark. In math, it could be for example a neatly written solution to a hard word problem, a set of definitions for geometry terms accompanied by drawings, or a description or exact instructions for a math game. Those can then go to their portfolio if you use such.

Most children in our society tend to get the idea that math is about "speed" and getting correct answers, and thus math test scores become really important to them. We need to discourage that line of thinking. See also my article on Timed tests and how it damages students learning of math.



11. Are there video lessons available?

Yes. There are LOTS of free videos, found here, that match the lessons in the curriculum. There is not a video for every single lesson... but I am constantly adding more as I'm able to edit & upload videos we've filmed in the past.



12. What about kindergarten math? At what age is it appropriate to start your 1st grade books?

There are no Math Mammoth books for kindergarten, but I've written a fairly comprehensive article about kindergarten math to use as a guideline. You can start 1st grade once the child can write and recognize numbers, count to 20 (preferably to 30 or beyond), has mastered basic concepts of equivalence, more, and less; and has a basic idea of addition.

Sometimes kindergarten-age children start with MM 1-A and there's one topic there that can become a frustration point if the child is not ready for it. It's the topic of "missing items" or missing numbers in addition problems, such as 2 + ___ = 5, or even simpler: 2 + ___ = 3. The idea is to ask the child, "2 and how many more makes 3?" Objects can also be used.

This particular lesson, "Missing Items," is fairly early in 1-A. If this lesson presents problems for your child, then he/she is not ready for 1st grade math. In that case, you could get one of the recommended kindergarten workbooks for the child and wait a month or a few months before trying again.



13. Will you be writing more grade levels?

Math Mammoth Light Blue series goes up to pre-algebra (grade 7). I will not be writing more levels beyond that. Please read my ideas and recommendations for kindergarten and high school math.



14. How far can I use the Light Blue series? Will it cover pre-algebra or algebra?

Math Mammoth Grade 7 is designed to be a pre-algebra curriculum. It covers integers, linear equations, slope, ratios, proportions, percent, the Pythagorean Theorem, geometry, statistics, and probability. After completing Math Mammoth grade 7, students can continue to algebra 1.



15. How do I pace the Light Blue curriculum? How many pages or worksheets per day should the child do?

For pacing, check how many actual lesson pages there are to study (this is mentioned on the web page of the book, below the cover image), and how many days of school you have in mind. Then to get how many pages per day you would need to study, divide the number of pages by the number of days. The user guide for each grade has this information also.

Assuming you have school 5 days a week, about 40 weeks a year, the student should study between 1 and 2 pages each day. If you homeschool for less than 200 days a year, you will probably need to study 2 or more pages a day. Please allow some time also for tests and cumulative reviews.

For example:

Grade levelPage count Number of days
in your school year
Number of days
for tests and reviews
Pages to study
per day
Pages to study
per week
1st grade249200201.386.92
2nd grade281200201.567.81
3rd grade321200201.788.92
4th grade353200201.969.81
5th grade346200241.979.83
6th grade323200201.798.97

Math Mammoth Grade 7 is, in a sense, a hybrid course – it can work as a complete 7th grade curriculum that meets the Common Core Standards, or as a traditional pre-algebra course. If using it as the former, you can omit the chapter on the Pythagorean Theorem. If the latter, you can omit the chapter on statistics. Please see the user guide for grade 7 for more information.

Grade levelPage count Number of days
in your school year
Number of days
for tests and reviews
Pages to study
per day
Pages to study
per week
7th grade
(CCS)
422200202.3411.7
7th grade
(traditiona)
431200202.3912
7th grade
(all)
463200222.613

So as a general guideline, about 1 1/2 pages a day is sufficient for grades 1-2, about 1 3/4 pages for grade 3, 4-6th graders should aim to do about 2 pages a day, and 7th graders about 2 1/2 pages. However, you need to pace it depending on how the lessons go. Sometimes your student might be able to do several pages in a day, and sometimes the student cannot do but one page. Also, in some topics you might be able to go through the pages quicker, for example in the chapters about clock, because the clock pictures are so large that one page does not have many problems.



16. How will I know when to review with computer games or worksheets rather than continuing? How will I know when to take a break and review an old concept so it will not be lost? Is this type of review incorporated in the program?

A curriculum that "spells" out in exact detail what the teacher is to do is called a "scripted curriculum". I simply have not had time nor the energy to build Math Mammoth to be scripted. Instead, Math Mammoth gives the teacher various tools, such as the main wortext, links to games, additional worksheets, and cumulative reviews & tests, but I have not spelled out what exactly should be done, or when, or how.

Basically, this is how you can get started. Start out using the student worktext and over the course of 1-2 weeks observe how much your child can handle daily - it might be 1-2 pages, maybe 1 1/2, maybe just 1, depending on age, maturation level, etc. Then map out your school year, and see also the answer #14 in this faq.

As far as when to use additional resources, I would say that when you go on with the worktext and it seems to go too quickly, then that is one SIGN that you should use additional worksheets and games.

Another sign: let's say you finish some chapter and go on. Then in the next chapter there are WORD PROBLEMS that require knowledge or concepts that were taught in the previous chapter, say multiplication or perimeter. If your child has great difficulty with those kinds of word problems, then it might be time to review the particular concept or skill. I have always striven to make the word problems progressively so that they involve concepts and skills studied in earlier chapters.

Then there are matching cumulative reviews for each chapter that you could assign near the end of the chapter, or middle, or however you like. Those will also give you an indication if a child has forgotten something.

One other possibility is that whenever the exercise set has lots of problems, just assign 2/3 of them or 1/2 of them. Then a week (or few weeks) later assign some of the rest for review.

But in a nutshell, Math Mammoth does better suit parents and teachers who are able to follow the child's mathematical progress just from the way the child solves the various problems in the worktext. However, I truly feel that is the BETTER way to go about it, and that all teachers eventually, with experience, gravitate away from scripted curricula.



17. How does Math Mammoth teach math facts?

Math Mammoth uses a hybrid approach where the children are shown various strategies for math facts, but the curriculum also incorporates some drill.

For addition and subtraction facts, the main or foundational strategy is that of fact families. We don't just study one fact family here and there, but GROUPS of fact families. The reason for that is, it allows the child to see the PATTERNS and the structure in these facts. But – we also use drills. Check out this page for videos and games you can use to help your child to learn and memorize the basic addition and subtraction facts.

There are also other strategies taught, such as doubles plus one, and the nine-trick.

For multiplication tables, the curriculum incorporates what I call a structured drill. This consists of first memorizing the skip-counting pattern, which are the answers, and then associating the different multiplications with the answers. At first the drilling is done within the structure of the table, and not randomly. From that we upgrade to random drilling.

The tables are also taught in a very specific order which lessens the overall memorization work. And there are videos that you can use for the multiplication table drills.

Based on the feedback I've gotten, this approach has proven to be quite effective.



18. Are there lesson plans available?

In collaboration with Homeschool Planet, we have developed a type of lesson plans for the Math Mammoth curriculum. These plans work in a calendar planner product sold by Homeschool Planet; you can also get an additional PDF version of the plan.

The lesson plans pace the Math Mammoth curriculum, assigning certain pages to be done on each day, along with instructional videos and Internet resources (games, quizzes, animations) that match the lessons. Then, Homeschool Planet planner allows you some flexibility. For example, you choose how many days a week math is studied or on which date to start the lesson plan. You can also "push forward" all the remaining days in the plan if you miss a day, and do similar things.

You can order these lesson plans here. The price is $9.95 per grade; discounted bundles are available.



19. Is Math Mammoth aligned with any state standards?

Grades 1-7 meet and exceed the Common Core Standards. Please see this FAQ for more information.



20. Does Math Mammoth curriculum encourage the use of manipulatives?

For the most part, the curriculum does not specifically emphasize manipulatives but visual models. The exercises with visual models COULD be done equally with manipulatives (beans/counters, base ten blocks, fraction manipulatives, etc.)

The exception is the 100-bead abacus, which I feel is needful for first grade. (The other option would be base ten blocks.) I feel that it is essential that kindergartners and first graders have the opportunity to learn tens and ones (place value) using some manipulative.

On each of these pages you will see a list of needed manipulatives for grades 1-3. You need to scroll down the page a bit.

grade 1
grade 2
grade 3



21. How and when to use the 100-bead abacus?

100-bead abacus

The only way the abacus is used in my books is as a simple counting frame, where each bead counts as ONE. Nothing fancy. It is NOT used like Chinese, Russian, or any of the other abaci where one bead might count as 5, 10, or 100.

A 100-bead abacus (or school abacus or a counting frame) simply contains 10 beads on 10 rods, a total of 100. In the school abacus, each bead simply represents one. The 100-bead abacus lets children both "see" the numbers and make them using their fingers (kinesthetic learning).

First and foremost, the abacus is used in the place value section in 1st grade where children learn about tens and ones (numbers up to 100). We use it to show clearly how 45 is made up of 4 tens and 5 ones, for example.

Secondly, you can use the abacus with addition and subtraction problems in 1st and 2nd grades. For example:

  • Show the child additions and subtractions with whole tens. For example, to solve 50 + 20, first make 50 on the abacus. Then add 20 more.
  • Add a two-digit number and a single-digit number. For example, to solve 23 + 5, first make 23 on the abacus. Then add five beads.
  • Show some "shortcuts" in addition or subtraction. For example, to solve 34 + 20, first make 34 on the abacus. To add 20, add two whole rows of beads. Then the student checks how many whole tens and how many individual beads is the total.
    Or, to solve 85 − 20, first make 85. Then pull back two whole rows of beads.
    Or, to add 23 + 44. First make 23. Then make 44 on using the five lowest rows of the abacus. Have the child now count the whole tens (6), and the individual beads from the two rows (3 + 4). This shows adding the tens separately, and adding the ones separately. From this you can graduate to making first 23, then adding 4 full rows of beads for 40, and then adding 4 individual beads from the same row as the 3 beads.

The purpose is mainly to help children to visualize two-digit numbers, and to add and subtract two-digit numbers.

The goal in my books is to drop the abacus by 3rd grade. Even before that, students use visual models, and from those go on to the abstract. The quicker the child can use visual models, and then do the math problems without any models, the better.

See also these ideas on how to use the 100-bead abacus.

Browse Amazon's abacus selection here. Other stores carry abaci as well. An abacus or counting frame where the beads alternate colors by fives is the best but even if the beads are the same color, it will work. TIP: If you get a regular abacus with 10 beads the same color, paint a thin white line on the right side of bead #5 and also on the left side of bead #6 on each row (counting from the left). This will make it easier to see 5 and 5 on each row.

You can also use this virtual abacus (Click the + symbol to add rows of beads). Or, make your own abacus. Just don't make it exactly like they show on that web page but instead use 10 bamboo skewer with 10 beads in each so you get a 10 x 10 abacus.

Here's an image of a home-made abacus one of my customers made using bamboo skewers, craft sticks, and beads:

home made abacus


22. My son is doing 4-A and having trouble with the word problems. I'd like him to get more practice with them. Is there a place to get more worksheets for word problems?

Word problems in Math Mammoth 4 are no longer simple one-step word problems, and that is why they may appear difficult to a child, especially if the child has not used Math Mammoth before. If children do lots of word problems from early on, and the problems increase in difficulty, they won't find them that difficult later on.

Whether you look at the Blue or Light Blue series, the child gets to do lots of word problems from the very beginning. In first grade, the problems are either addition or subtraction problems, and mostly one-step problems. However, already in second grade, most of them require at least two steps. Children who do not encounter multi-step word problems in their math curriculum (from grade 2 on) can have difficulty transitioning into Math Mammoth.

To remedy, you could have your child solve word problems from the earlier levels of Math Mammoth. Go back to first grade word problems if necessary, and build up from there. You could have the child solve several problems a day alongside your regular math, or take a break and just do word problems for a few weeks.

This article on word problems will help you further understand the issue with word problems, and to find further resources to help.



23. We are using the Light Blue Grade 1A. The kids ran into their first Puzzle Corner. I love it! However, it was pretty difficult for them. Should I give them more of those for practice before we move on?

The puzzle corners are meant to be challenging so don't worry if it was difficult. You don't have to "practice" them as such because they are not something that the children absolutely have to master. They have several purposes: to challenge children to think, and also to inspire them about mathematics. There are more coming later in the curriculum.

If you notice the puzzle corners start discouraging the children, please skip them or don't require them to get the right answer... that defeats their purpose. The idea is to get them try to solve something challenging, even if the don't get the correct answer. The thinking process and the trying is the important part.

That said, you can find more practice if you google "math puzzles for kids". But don't force the children to have to do puzzles... try instead encourage them to do them so that they would learn to LOVE the challenging of their minds. For that to happen, you MUST not put down mistakes or failures, but emphasize how good it is that they work hard... EVEN IF they don't get the answer.

Please also read this article of mine: The value of mistakes.

You can have a puzzle day once in a while where you present them other challenging problems. Check this list of additional word problem websites.

At any rate, do not stop there at the curriculum but just move on.



24. Is Math Mammoth a spiral or mastery curriculum (horizontal or vertical math)?

Math Mammoth is a mastery-based curriculum. This means that each year of the curriculum is divided into chapters by broad topics, such as addition & subtraction, multiplication, measurement, geometry, division, fractions, decimals, graphing, percent, and so on. The lessons in any one chapter focus on the topic of the chapter.

However, often the topic is present in two (or even three) neighboring grades. Examples include: equivalent fractions (both 4th and 5th grade), percent (6th and 7th), factoring (4th and 5th). Some topics are "developed" to mastery over several grades, going from simple to more complex; for example reading the clock (grades 1-3), counting coins (grades 1-3), fraction arithmetic (grades 4-6), decimal arithmetic (grades 4-6).

So, you could call Math Mammoth a mastery-oriented program with some spiraling over the grades. It does NOT employ a "tight" or "short" spiral where the same topic would be present, say, every 10 lessons, or dozens of times within the same school year.

The curriculum does also incorporate review of previous topics, mainly in two manners.

First, each chapter has a mixed review lesson. Like the name says, it contains review problems from various topics that have been studied in the past. The curriculum also includes additional cumulative reviews, which are just like the mixed review lessons, with problems that cover a variety of concepts that have been studied through the curriculum.

Then secondly, the word problems used in the curriculum often require the student to use other math concepts, and not just the skill or concept of the lesson.

We also offer supplemental skills review workbooks (one for each grade) that provide spiral review of the topics in the main curriculum. These are optional. I recommend you use the curriculum for a while as is, and then if your child needs more review, you can purchase the skills review workbook for his or her grade.

Lastly, the curriculum is flexible and it's actually possible to use Math Mammoth in a somewhat spiral manner. Simply have your child study in two or three chapters at the same time, such as both multiplication and geometry, or both decimals and graphing.



25. Some graphics are missing from the PDF file. Why?

This is a common problem in Mac computers. If it some images are missing , download and install Adobe Acrobat Reader for Mac from this link, and open the PDF files in it, instead of in Mac's native PDF viewer.

Another possible problem is that some graphics/images will not print on a Mac. Try the "Print as image" option in the "advanced" section of the printer window, and see if that helps.



26. If my child needs extra practice, could I use the Golden series worksheet collections for that?

The problem with using the Golden series worksheets collections is that they were written in 2006 to match the then Virginia standards, whereas the Light Blue series follows Common Core. So, the Golden series collection won't have all the topics that the Light Blue series has in any grade, and vice versa. The Golden series books still have lots of good practice problems but you can't count on finding problems for all the topics in the corresponding level of Light Blue series.

Also, some of the problems in the Golden series are the same as in the Light Blue (though most are not).

For extra practice, check out these options:

  • Math Mammoth curriculum comes with a free worksheet maker, which allows you to make worksheets for most of the topics in the curriculum (though not for all, for example not for word problems).
  • Use our newer series of skills review workbooks, as those were specifically designed to match the Light Blue series main curriculum. They provide extra practice for the concepts covered in the curriculum in a spiral manner.
  • We offer free interactive math practice and games for some math topics here at MathMammoth.com
  • Khan Academy has a lot of interactive practice problems, including even some word problems.
  • There are several companies that provide practice problems for all possible topics in a particular grade (subscription-based), for example www.ixl.com.


27. What can we do with Flash-based games listed in the introductions and lesson plans after 2020?

Major browsers are dropping support for Flash in the end of 2020. After that, for desktop, check out Pale Moon browser.

For mobile, look into these: Puffin browser, Dolphin, Photon, Lightning, Flashfox.

Thankfully, several of the math games websites are changing their games over to HTML5 format (though not all). For example, Sheppard Software is converting their games little by little.



28. What is the origin of this curriculum?

Math Mammoth books had their start at around 2002, when I (Maria Miller) was tutoring homeschooling children, and noticed the difficulties their parents had in explaining mathematics.

I initially wrote books for certain topics, and later those books gave rise to the Blue Series books you can see on this site.

I always designed the lessons in the books so that they would teach BOTH the parent and the child the processes and concepts of elementary math. Thus, the books contain very clear explanations, lots of visual exercises and pattern exercises that help children see the structure of mathematics and clearly understand the concepts of mathematics, instead of just memorizing rules.

Ample practice for computation is not forgotten either. Word problems abound.

The complete curriculum had its start in 2007, when I was asked to combine my books into material that could be sold by grade levels.



29. What do you recommend for high school math?

Please read my advice for high school math here.



30. Where can I get Mathy the mascot mammoth?

You can get Mathy at Amazon.com. Check out also some mammoth coloring and dot-to-dot pages we have here!



31. Do you have a certificate of completion to give children for completing their grade levels?

Yes - download them here: version 1 and version 2.



32. Does the author have any mathematics or education credentials?

Yes. I have a master's degree in mathematics (1997) after studying 5 years in the university of Joensuu, Finland (nowadays called the University of Eastern Finland), and one term at the University of Nottingham, UK. My degree includes minors in physics and statistics, and the educational studies required to become a teacher (in Finland).




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