{!firstname_fix}  You are receiving this email because you signed
up for my Homeschool Math newsletter OR to my Math Mammoth email tour at the address below: Homeschool Math Newsletter, Vol. 32, September 2009Get the Simple Schooling Ecology MiniCourse for Only $10!
Your 5th9th graders will love this 75 page PDF unit study that covers Biomes, the Biosphere, Conservation, and more! And if you haven't signed up for our amazing FREE Unit Studies every month, be sure to do that here! In this month's newsletter:
1. About the Newsletter 1. About the newsletterFirst of all, you might have already noticed that this month's newsletter happens to be filled with reviews. This doesn't normally happen, as the regular readers surely know, but it just happened that way this time. I didn't specifically plan it. Various companies send me materials off and on, and I write reviews about them. (I hope that my mentioning this does not result in a slew of products mailed to me... I really can't handle too many at a time.)Some might feel, "Then I'm not going to read it, because I'm not going to buy anything anyway." Please don't just discard this newsletter for that reason. What I have written can be valuable to you EVEN if you never buy the actual product, for these reasons:
I'm not putting these reviews into the newsletter to be commercial advertisements as such, or for personal monetary gain (I'm not receiving any). I thought they were GOOD products and could HELP some of you! All the rest of you who are not going to buy (which is FINE) can still learn something from those reviews. Also, I feel that people who are passionate about mathematics and who make a good product then deserve to receive a compensation for their efforts. Sometimes people just hunt for educational freebies  but I feel "a workman is worthy of his hire".
2. A review of MathleticsMathletics is an online math practice system for K12 that includes:
3. A review of Multiplication Mountain songs CDIt has been proven that music can help children memorize things. There is something about the music or the rhythm or both that changes or improves the way our brain works. I haven't studied this effect indepth; I'm just familiar with the general idea.So, using music to memorize math facts−or in this case, multiplication tables−is definitely a sound idea. Multiplication Mountain is a CD by Hap Palmer, filled with songs for the multiplication tables. For each table, there is one song, but it is presented twice on the CD: once sung completely, and the second time without the answers sung. That way, the child can try to fill in the answers while listening to the song from the second track. You can listen to samples at www.myspace.com/happalmer (the songs for nines and twos) and at CdFreedom website. Here's yet another sample of his music from YouTube. It's called Bean Bag Alphabet Rag. It's not from the Multiplication Mountain CD. I just put the link here in case you want to check out the musical and singing style of this artist. Bean Bag Alphabet Rag by Hap Palmer. It's a pretty fun song! Read the complete review. 4. A review of Algebra UnpluggedAlgebra Unplugged by Kenn Amdahl and Jim Loats is not a textbook, nor does it have any exercises. Instead, it is filled with verbose, often humorous explanations of algebra 1 concepts for those who would rather hear or read math explained in many words, instead of in a few symbols.Algebra Unplugged also often explains the reasons behind some peculiar mathematical notations or terminology, and in general, tells the students WHY things are done the way they are done in your "Real Algebra Book". Excerpt: The Associative PrincipleRead the complete review. 5. Math trick and its proof: squaring a number ending in 5THE "TRICK"If a number ends in 5, then its square can be calculated using this "trick" (I like to call it a shortcut because there's nothing magic about it): Let's say we have 75 × 75 => Go 7 × 8 = 56. Then tag 25 (or 5 × 5) into that. You get 5625. Let's say we have 35 × 35 => Go 3 × 4 = 12. Then tag 25 into that. You get 1225. Let's say we have 115 × 115 => Go 11 × 12 = 132. Then tag 25 into that. You get 13,225. You could definitely use this in algebra class. First explain the shortcut or trick itself. Then ask students to prove it, or to explain WHY it works, using algebra. You could also explain this to younger students as an additional "neat trick" and let them explore and play with it. Read more and see the proof. 6. Tidbits
Till next time, Miss something from the earlier volumes? See newsletter archives. Feel free to forward this issue to a friend. Subscribe here.

SUBSCRIBE TO HOMESCHOOL MATH NEWSLETTER  math teaching ideas, tips and news delivered monthly. See archives and past volumes 