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Pros: Hip visuals, tongue-in-cheek fun, concrete real-world examples, and superb teaching resources make a nearly complete package.
Cons: Assessment or online tracking options for individual teachers and a wider range of content would make the site more versatile.
Bottom Line: Teachers and students will excel with engaging, often funny material; it's a pleasure to explore these extensive resources.
Math Snacks has so many quality implementation resources, you'll certainly not go wanting for ideas! Best practice planning tips on the site suggest integration as part of larger units, lesson development sequence including a first viewing for entertainment, a second to note vocabulary, and a third for integration ideas. Suggestions include asking students to brainstorm key math concepts and vocabulary for starters, and much more. Most impressive are the "teacher's videos," presented by a teacher who outlines tips for each product in clear, meaningful terms and who is shown in action implementing the material in the classroom. A newer feature includes integration with existing teacher dashboards or portals, such as Edmodo.com, allowing teachers to access Math Snacks within a framework for lesson planning, assessing, and reporting. Beyond the amazing resources, the content encourages a love of teaching through statements like, "Be open to the wonderful ways the students may approach each problem."
Math Snacks packs concrete and thorough treatments of the basics of ratio, proportion, scale, number line, coordinate graphing, large and negative number place value, and some measurement into six videos, five games, and three overlapping iOS apps. Two of the games, Pearl Diver and Ratio Rumble, are available for purchase as stand-alone iOS apps. A free app that includes all animations is also available. Kids watch videos reminiscent of "Schoolhouse Rock" (sans catchy tunes) or play single-player games. Activities can be done with or without teacher guidance; kids can follow up with learner's guides (workpages).
"Ratio Rumble" sucks kids into the mathematics of ratio by grouping as many like potion symbols as possible in adjacent sequence, all within a tongue-in-cheek, Pokemon-like battle world. The "Scale Ella" video embeds scale, proportion, and associated calculations into a superhero narrative with comic relief about the villain Scaleo, who changes scale for evil. Teachers enjoy free access to comic versions, teacher's guides, best practice teaching tips, Common Core and NCTM alignment, plus CCSS Mathematical recommended practices.
Math Snacks charges middle school mathematical concepts with energy, humor, and ease. You'll appreciate the clear presentation and accompanying resources that support in-class learning with best practices recommendations for each and every product. Math Snacks is especially appropriate for struggling, reluctant, or ELL learners. There are a few rough spots in the student workpages (Learner's Guides), the range of topics is on the narrow side, and some assessment tools would really complete the package. While a teacher dashboard and progress tracking are absent from the interface, researchers at the New Mexico State University are tracking performance and testing efficacy, perhaps with some of these considerations in mind.
Game levels are accessible and ramp up slowly yet steadily. Challenge is always present, but tasks are never overly difficult or impossible. Videos keep kids on their toes with sophisticated and baser wit all rolled into one. Math Snacks is a welcome addition to the accessible math pantheon.