Common Sense Education | Updated September 2013

Math Live!

Fun animations and interactive practice teach conceptual math content

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Teachers say (2 Reviews)
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4-6 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Provides exceptional math concept instruction and includes solid assessments, rubrics, and keys.

Cons: Students may need some teacher direction, assessments are printable only, and content corresponds to Canadian objectives (including use of metric measurements).

Bottom Line: High-quality instruction and insightful assessments make this a go-to site for teaching middle-grade math concepts.

Math Live! stands out among educational websites as a tool for guiding students toward better conceptual understanding. The site adeptly covers math concepts and provides quality (if only printable) assessments. The site is best used to help your students understand –- not memorize –- topics.

In a self-paced classroom, students working individually or in small groups can learn online while teachers work with others. For those using a flipped-class approach, the site can be used to introduce topics at home while classroom time is used for practice. The site’s curriculum includes relevant, high-quality activities and assessments. These can work as both pre- and post-tests, assessing student readiness as well as measuring understanding. The site even includes sample responses to help instructors predict different levels of math reasoning. The parent and teacher notes provide some great suggested extensions and real-world applications.

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Math Live! has an animated cast of characters who help students learn more than 20 significant math concepts, from place value to probability. After selecting a topic, students proceed through five to ten short segments in which the characters introduce a problem, explain the concepts, and provide interactive practice. Where most online math explorations tend to focus on drills and memorization, Math Live! stands out for its attempts to cover the conceptual side of different math topics.

Math problems range from the expected (“How can we divide these balloons for the school dance?) to the quirky (“What fraction of the kittens will wear sweaters?”). The animated crew speaks clearly and thoughtfully, and vocabulary is clearly spelled out for easy note-taking. The site also includes printable activities and assessments, complete with keys, rubrics, and even sample responses.

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Math Live! engages students with age-appropriate content and clear, yet concise, instruction. What’s unique is the quality and depth of instruction; in a field of math online explorations geared toward drills and memorization, Math Live! stands out for its conceptual coverage of topics. Students will receive immediate feedback as they practice math problems that aim to build true understanding. Unfortunately, the online practice doesn't adapt based on student input; the site could be a more powerful learning tool if next steps were tailored to responses. Also, teachers should know that the site doesn't electronically record student progress, nor does it provide feedback about students' answers on the site.

Ultimately, students can demonstrate mastery through the printable activities and assessments (provided within the site). Don’t be fooled by this old-school approach! The assessments are of exceptional quality; they focus on conceptual understanding and ask students to explain their thinking. The included rubrics and sample student responses will help both new and experienced teachers promote and monitor their students' math reasoning.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

Students join animated characters as they solve age-appropriate, periodically silly math problems. Though slow-paced at times, the interactive format helps keep all students involved.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
4

Math concepts are clearly explained; lessons include key vocabulary, models, and embedded practice problems. Although not adaptive, the site is geared toward building students' conceptual understanding.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

Progress within a lesson is easy to view, but included assessments are only printable. Students get support when they're wrong but can move on without fixing errors.


Teacher Reviews

5
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Featured review by
Fay C. , Other
Other
Hanover County Public Schools
Ashland, VA
4
Flip your classroom learning of math concepts with this animated, interactive website!

I think Math Live! Can be a great addition to any classroom instruction. The video lessons are thorough and make for rather engaging instruction for students. Also, the opportunity for students to work independently, at their own pace is a nice asset to the site. I also like that the animated lessons are interactive and stop and ask students to demonstrate their understanding throughout the lesson. Students do have the ability to skip ahead past sections without actually completing the activities contained within the lesson, which could be an issue for some students. Another thing to point out is that the math content is aimed at upper elementary or early middle school skills and is aligned to Canadian objectives. This is certainly not a deal breaker, but teachers will need to take a little bit of time to align to their state’s objectives. One other helpful resource for teachers is the teacher notes section. It lists common misconceptions students may have regarding the lesson material, which I feel is an asset for teachers. Finally, there are additional associated activities for student use to practice the new skills. Unfortunately these are strictly printable worksheets, and not interactive, but helpful nonetheless. Overall, I think Math Live! Can be a great resource for teaching or remediation in any upper elementary or middle school math class.

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