Review by Christie Thomas, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2014

Math.com

Riddled with ads, this archaic site has just a few usable features

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • College & Career Prep

Subjects
  • Math
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
3-12
Common Sense says (See details)
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Not yet reviewed

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Pros: There's some usable content here and there; look for the basic math practice generator (ArithmAttack) and the math logic games.

Cons: Many of the practice sets don’t work, the site is awash with ads disguised as content, and there’s nothing here that's really unique.

Bottom Line: Unless there's something specific you need here, skip it; the e-math world offers many other options that are less exasperating and free of ad concerns.

As with any site that contains rotating ads, be cautious as some could be inappropriate for your students. Repeatedly reloading the page (in advance) may help you feel more confident about what will appear for your students. The basic math practice generator (ArithmAttack) is a great tool that can be added to one’s own website (or also found at other sites). Teachers from upper elementary through high school can use this tool for transition times, quick practice, and class challenges. You can extend the practice here by having students track their scores graphically in their notebook.

Middle and high school math teachers will like the site’s algebra worksheet generator, which offers both print and online versions. Teachers choose the number of math problems from different categories (distributive, quadratic) and can even set the coefficients to be fractions. These could make for great practice resources for class warm-ups and homework reviews –- even in advanced classes.

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Math.com is an informational and instructional math site that provides some lessons and practice problems across several topics, as well as games and other resources (calculators, tables). Users' first impression will undoubtedly be influenced by the prominent ad space on the homepage. In fact, across the site, half (or more) of most pages is ad space. The ads are largely math-related, so distinguishing among links is difficult.

The “practice” tab is the main access point for math content, providing sequential lessons and practice sets in pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, and everyday math. While the text-based lessons are usable, most practice sets are non-operational, and unit tests don’t include answers. Other topics (calculus, for example) include links to related formulas, etc. The site also offers games and other resources –- including a “Wonders of Math” page with topics like tessellations and fractals. While there's a lot here, broken links abound.

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First and foremost, teachers should know that Math.com's rotating ads could be inappropriate for schoolkids; these may or may not be blocked by a school's content filters. If you still choose to try the site, you'll find math lessons equivalent to a mediocre textbook –- not great, perhaps confusing, but not “wrong" per se. The practice problems are another story, though. Kids might get frustrated when the “Next Problem” doesn’t load, or when the site provides incorrect feedback (calling some correct answers "wrong").

Other features are better, though. The sudokus (under Games) are easy to use and include lots of levels, from easy to challenging. The tables, formulas, and glossaries are all functional references. The site’s calculators include interesting tools for prime numbers, circles, and percent. Be advised: Teachers will find many links in the teacher section outdated or invalid.

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Overall Rating

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

Unimpressive style and uninspiring content may quickly bore kids, and non-working practice problems are bound to frustrate. Some math games provide excitement and practice, but most can be better found on their original (ad-free) sites.

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

Reasonable math lessons are provided for some topics, and extras -– like the glossary –- are usable. But the site becomes a bust for learning when kids attempt the many practice problems that don’t load or aren’t correct.

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

Lack of good organization makes the few helpful components (glossary, tables) difficult to find. The “hint” buttons provided with the practice problems don’t always work, and those that do are vague at best.


Common Sense Reviewer
Christie Thomas Classroom teacher

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