The Light Blue Series

This document has the following sections:

Basic principles in using Math Mammoth Complete Curriculum

How to get started

Pacing the curriculum

Using tests

Using cumulative reviews and the worksheet maker

Concerning challenging word problems and puzzles

Frequently asked questions

Contact the author

How to get started

Pacing the curriculum

Using tests

Using cumulative reviews and the worksheet maker

Concerning challenging word problems and puzzles

Frequently asked questions

Contact the author

Math Mammoth Complete Curriculum is not a scripted curriculum. In other words, it is not spelling out in exact detail what the teacher is to do or say in a specific lesson. Instead, Math Mammoth gives you, the teacher, various tools for teaching:

**The two student worktexts**(part A and B) are the most important part of the curriculum. These contains all the lesson material and exercises, and INCLUDE the explanations of the concepts (the teaching part) in blue boxes. The worktexts also contain some advice for the teacher in the "Introduction" of each chapter.

The teacher can read the teaching part of each lesson before the lesson, or read and study it together with the student in the lesson, or let the student read and study on his own. If you are a classroom teacher, you can copy the examples from the "blue teaching boxes" to the board and go through them on the board.

- The "Introduction" part of each chapter (within the student worktext) has a
**link list to various free online games**or other resources on the Internet. These games can be used to supplement the math lessons, for learning math facts, or just for some fun.

- There is one
**Cumulative Review**for each chapter, excluding the 1st chapter. These cumulative reviews are supplied as separate PDF files. You will also find an editable (html) version.

- Each chapter has a
**Chapter Test**, again supplied as a separate PDF file. You will also find an editable (html) version.

- The
**Worksheet Maker**allows you to make additional worksheets for most calculation-type topics in the curriculum. This is a single html file. You will need Internet access to be able to use it.

- Some grade levels have
**cutouts**to make fraction manipulatives or geometric solids.

- On the MathMammoth.com website, you will find
**accompanying teaching videos**, matched to the lessons of the curriculum. There isn't a video for every lesson, but there are dozens of videos for each grade level.

- Again on the MathMammoth.com website, we also offer
**free online math practice**for some topics (e.g. multiplication tables, mental addition & subtraction, fact families, factors). This is an expanding section of the site, so check often to see what new topics we are adding to it!

Simply start out by printing the first lesson from the student worktext. Study the teaching part (within the blue boxes) together with your child. Go through a few of the exercises together, and then assign some problems for your child to do on his/her own. You can also let the child study the lesson completely on his own if you feel he/she is capable.

The lessons in Math Mammoth complete curriculum are NOT written to be done in a single teaching session or class. Sometimes you might be able to go through a whole lesson in one day, but more often, the lesson itself might span 3-5 pages and take 2-3 days or classes to complete.

Therefore, it is not possible to say exactly how many pages a student needs to do in one day. This will vary. However, you should calculate yourself a general guideline as to how many pages per week you should cover in the student worktext in order to go through the curriculum in one school year (or some other span of time you want to allot to it).

You can check below how many pages there are to do for your particular grade level. Fill in how many days of school you have in mind. Also allow several days for tests and cumulative reviews - at least twice the number of chapters in the curriculum. Then, to get a count of "pages/day", divide the number of pages by the number of available days. This number will be between 1 and 2, assuming you do school 5 days a week, about 40 weeks a year. Then, multiply this number by 5 to get an approximate page count to go through in a week.

Example:

Grade level |
Lesson pages |
Number of school days |
Number of days for tests and reviews |
Number of days for studying the student book |
Pages to study per day |
Pages to study per week |
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

4-A | 183 | 102 | 8 | 94 | 1.95 | 9.7 |

4-B | 177 | 98 | 8 | 90 | 1.97 | 9.8 |

Grade 4 total | 360 | 200 | 16 | 184 | 1.96 | 9.8 |

The one below is for you to fill in.

Grade level |
Lesson pages |
Number of school days |
Number of days for tests and reviews |
Number of days for studying the student book |
Pages to study per day |
Pages to study per week |
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

4-A | 183 | |||||

4-B | 177 | |||||

Grade 4 total | 360 |

Now, let's assume you determine that you need to study about 2 pages a day, or about 10 pages a week in order to get through the curriculum, based on the number of school days in your school year. As you study each lesson, keep in mind that sometimes most of the page might be filled with those blue teaching boxes, and very few exercises. You might be able to "cover" two full pages on such a day. Then some other day you might only assign one page of word problems. Also, you might be able to go through the pages quicker in some chapters, for example when studying the clock, because the large clock pictures fill the page so that one page does not have many problems.

When you have a page or two filled with lots of similar practice problems ("drill") or large sets of problems, feel free to **only assign 1/2 or 2/3 of those problems**. If your child "gets it" with less amount of exercises, then that is perfect! If not, you can always assign him/her the rest of the problems some other day. In fact, you could even use these unassigned problems the next week or next month for some additional review.

In general, 1st-2nd graders might spend 25-40 minutes a day on math. 3rd-4th graders might spend 30-60 minutes a day. 5th - 6th graders might spend 45-75 minutes a day. If your child finds math enjoyable, he/she can of course spend more time with it! However, it is not good to drag out the lessons on a regular basis, because that can then affect the child's attitude towards math.

There is a test for each chapter, which can be administered right after studying the chapter. **The tests are optional.** Some homeschooling families might prefer not to give tests at all. The main reason I have provided tests is for diagnostic purposes, and so that homeschooling
families can use them for their record keeping. I have not provided any grading
system for the chapter tests. You can grade them however you want.

These test files are located in their own folder. They are provided as PDF files and as editable html files. You can open the html files in most any word processor (such as Microsoft Word) for editing. Then you can edit the test and change the numbers or problems in it. However, remember to save the edited test files under a different file name, or you will lose the original test file.

The end-of-year test has a suggestion for grading. This test is best administered as a diagnostic or assessment test, which will tell you how well the student remembers and has mastered the math content of the entire grade level.

There is a cumulative review matched for each chapter, except for chapter 1. For example, the review titled "Cumulative Review, Chapters 1 - 4" means that the problems in that review cover topics from chapters 1-4. These cumulative reviews are available as PDF files and as editable html files. You are welcome to edit the html files for the purpose of providing a slightly different review for your student. For example, you can easily change the numbers in the problems.

**Use the corresponding cumulative review some time after you are done studying a particular chapter.** For example, you could use the "Cumulative Review, Chapters 1 - 4" right after or before administering chapter 4 test. Or, you could use it 1-2 weeks after finishing chapter 4.

There are no "hard and fast" rules when it comes to cumulative reviews. It is not necessary to use all of them within a school year; however I do recommend that you use at least 1/2 of them.

One of the **main reasons** for the cumulative reviews is to **spot any areas** that the student **has not grasped well or has forgotten, and thus needs additional practice**. When you find such a topic or concept, you have several options:

- Check if the
**worksheet maker**lets you make worksheets for that topic (for example, conversions between measuring units or equivalent fractions). - Check for any
**online games**in the*Introduction*part of the particular chapter in which this topic or concept was taught. - Check if our online practice section has something for that topic.
- You might also be able to simply
**reprint the lesson**from the student worktext and have the student restudy that. - Or, maybe you only assigned 2/3 of the exercise sets the first time through, and can now
**use the remaining exercises**. - Occasionally a lack or a mistake is not of concern. This is true if the topic either is going to be taught in-depth
*or*can safely be delayed to the*next*grade level.

Such topics in grade 4 include most fraction and decimal topics, since those two will be studied in 5th grade in great detail.

Another sign that the student has not grasped a necessary concept is if he/she cannot do WORD PROBLEMS in the subsequent chapters that require past knowledge or concepts. If your child has great difficulty with those kinds of word problems, then it might be time to use the worksheet maker, online games, or restudy the concept using the worktext. I have always striven to make the word problems progressively so that they involve concepts and skills studied in earlier chapters.

While this is not absolutely necessary, I heartily recommend supplementing Math Mammoth with challenging word problems and puzzles. You could do that once a month, for example, or more often if the student enjoys it.

The goal of challenging story problems and puzzles is to **develop the
student’s logical and abstract
thinking and mental discipline**. I recommend starting these in fourth grade, at the latest.
Then, students are able to read the problems on their own and have developed mathematical knowledge in many different areas. Of course I am not discouraging students from doing such in earlier grades, either.

Math Mammoth curriculum contains lots of word problems, and they are usually multi-step problems. Several of the lessons utilize a bar model for solving problems. Even so, the problems I have created are usually tied to a specific concept or concepts. I feel students can benefit from solving problems and puzzles that require them to think “out of the box” or are just different from the ones I have written.

You can use the resources below for some problem solving practice. You can find more puzzles online by searching for "brain puzzles for kids," "logic puzzles for kids," or "brain teasers for kids." Choose something that fits your budget (most of these are free) and that you and your students will like.

**Problem Solving Decks from North Carolina public schools**

Includes a deck of problem cards for grades 1-8, student sheets,
and solutions. Many of these problems are best solved with calculators. All of
these problems lend themselves to students telling and writing about their
thinking.

https://www.homeschoolmath.net/teaching/problem-solving-decks.php

**Math Stars Problem Solving Newsletter (grades 1-8)**

These
newsletters are a fantastic, printable resource for problems to solve and their
solutions.

https://www.homeschoolmath.net/teaching/math-stars.php

**Problem Solving from MathWire.com**

Neat and creative problems to solve for K-8.

http://www.mathwire.com/problemsolving/probs.html

**Step-by-Step Problem Solving, Grade 4**

A problem-solving workbook that provides step-by-step instruction, problem pages at varied levels of difficulty, a math strategies overview, and a complete answer key. The book utilizes bar models just like Math Mammoth and Singapore Math. Other grades available also.

www.amazon.com/Step-Problem-Solving-Carson-Dellosa-Learning/dp/1609964799?tag=mathmammoth-20

**Challenge Math For the Elementary and Middle School Math Student**

Over 1,000 math word problems for children in grades 4-8. Answers are included in the back of the book. ISBN
978-0967991559.

https://www.amazon.com/Challenge-Elementary-Middle-Student-Edition/dp/0967991552/?tag=mathmammoth-20

**Mathematics
Enrichment - nrich.maths.org**

Open-ended, investigative math challenges for all levels from the UK. Use
Stage 3 problems for 7th grade.

http://nrich.maths.org/

http://nrich.maths.org/public/themes.php
lets you find problems organized by mathematical themes.

**Figure This! Math
Challenges for Families**

Word problems related to real life. They do not always have all
the information but you have to estimate and think. For each problem, there is a
hint, other related problems, and interesting trivia. Website supported by
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

http://figurethis.nctm.org/

**MathCounts School Handbook (PDF)**

This handbook contains 300 creative problems for grades 6-8. All problems are
mapped according to topic, to difficulty level, and to the Common Core State
Standards.

https://www.mathcounts.org/resources/school-handbook

**“Problem of the Week” (POWs)**

Problem of the week contests are excellent for finding
challenging problems and for motivation. There are several:

**Math Contest at Columbus State University**

Elementary, middle, algebra, and “general” levels.

http://themathcontest.com/

**Math Olympiads**

A math problem solving competition for teams (groups of students) from schools or home schools. For grades 4-8.

http://www.moems.org/

**American Mathematics Competitions**

America's longest-running math contests. There is one for middle school students and two for high school students.

https://www.maa.org/math-competitions

**Paul Erdös International Math Challenge**

This is open to any child in three different age groups.

http://inside.gcschool.org/abacus/

See even more word problem and problem solving resources at

https://www.homeschoolmath.net/online/problem_solving.php

You can also use puzzles from the Internet:

Search in Google for “brain puzzles for kids”

Search in Google for “logic puzzles for kids”

Search in Google for “brain teasers for kids”

Please read the FAQ at the Math Mammoth website.

In case of any further questions (but please first check the FAQ!) about the curriculum, you can contact me at www.mathmammoth.com/contact.php.

I wish you success in teaching math!

Maria Miller