AIMS - Fabulous Fraction Review
Monday, April 16, 2012
Fractions are a struggle for my small scholars. So, I gladly volunteered to review a product offering to make fun out of fractions.
Included with the 185 page paperback Fabulous Fractions book ($21.95) was a set of 5 Fractional Transparencies ($14.95) and also a CD providing reproducible items in one convenient location. A pdf version of this book is available for $19.95. Fabulous Fractions is meant to teach 3rd - 5th graders more about fractions through hands on activities.
There are additional suggested material as an aid to making fractions hands on and understandable. Some of these items I have on hand and others I didn't, but we made do with what we had! The suggested additional materials are: Fraction Cards, Tangram Puzzles, Plastic Pattern Blocks, Fraction Circle Transparencies (and the fractional transparencies I did receive). The projects we did can be done without these additional materials, but I suggest at least looking into getting everything recommended as they are all very reasonably priced and will make using this book very simple.
This book does an excellent job of explaining how to use each lesson for whichever age range you are teaching to. Teaching fractions has always been frustrating to me, and this helped take the worry out of the process.
By the end of several hands on lessons, my younger 3 students were seeing fractions in everything. I used this book as a supplement and not our main math. However, this book did help my children to see fractions around them.
I would not say all of my children now "get it". In fact, my 8 yo seems like he still doesn't have a clue. The 7 and 10 yo needed very little explanation in order to understand and this was below the 14 yo, but he actually still participated with many of the activities since he happened to be in the same room.
We have 3 students close enough in age to work together on the group projects. Yet - in my experience- this particularly book works best for a group setting. So, for homsechoolers, I could picture this being a great product for a co-op. Since 200 copies of anything in the book are allowed per school/ home, it would not be necessary to buy multiple books and makes this extremely affordable for even the smallest homeschool group/ co-op. There are 22 activities altogether. In the back of the book, answers to activities are provided. The book is more of a teacher's guide, but the pages can be copied directly out of the book, so the book is not consumable.
Fabulous Fractions retails for $21.95 on the AIMS Education Foundation site, www.aimsedu.org . You can also contact AIMS through their toll free customer service number: (888) 733-2467 during business hours Monday through Friday.
Here I have paraphrased the 3 promises AIMS makes to their customers: To make learning engaging, make activities affordable (and supporting material readily available) and to make activities easy to use. I found all 3 of these to be true.
I loved the hands on component, straight forward explanations and clearly defined list of learning objectives. For us, it worked out well to introduce the material a little at a time and not use this daily - but still often. I would recommend getting a bin and compiling all the items needed, then using this book - along with supporting materials- as a fun activity center. I am not trying to suggest this product can only be used as supplemental activities, though. To me, the material just seemed to lend itself to that sort of application. It is a nice way to break up the monotony so common with the process of learning math.
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Review Crew, I received this product for free in exchange for my honest review. All the opinions expressed are mine.