The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM):

Fractions: Step by Step

The goal of the design of this all-purpose kit is to instruct in the topic of fractions. As stated, it is best suited for students ages 10-12; it can also be used for enrichment; for elementary-grade students or for middle school remedial students; for students under the age of 10 if designated sections are omitted; and by three students at a time, with or without a monitor, parent, tutor, sister, brother, or guide.

The package contains benchmarks to help the learner develop a point of reference to guide his or her thinking through solutions, which is a useful strategy to reinforce estimation and to promote thought about solutions and results.

Other features include an independent study program, remedial program, and helper section. The textbook is well organized to meet such features as drill and practice and short response and open-response questions.

The CD-ROM allows the user to set up personal passwords; register; review test results; establish pass scores for tests; and print quizzes, tests, and exams.

The textbook, in conjunction with the CD-ROM, is organized with seven units that take the learners to their various levels of abilities. This packet is designed for educators and for parents who wish to address the area of fractions.

Joanna D. Krainski
Tewksbury Public Schools,
Tewksbury, Massachusetts.

Click here to download the PDF version of this review by NCTM.


Calculation Skills Series : Volumes 1 - 4

This four-CD set is designed to help develop skills in the fundamental operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division through practice drills. The CDs offer a basic and advanced level of addition, subtraction, and calculating money and change, and a basic and advanced level of multiplication and division. Each CD includes a helper site for a parent or teacher to use. This stores records for students using the drills, with space for three records on the home version and forty on the school version. Additionally, the CDs include brief lessons to teach the processes for each mathematical operation, a tutorial on the use of the number keypad, and specific information in the helper section on what each drill contains.

The drills are designed for use by students in third grade and above. Each drill consists of ten problems drawn from a problem database of one hundred questions. The end of each set of problems shows students' correct answer score and the time needed to complete the problems, with incorrect problems highlighted. Students' personal best time is recorded and displayed every time they reattempt the drill. The problems are clearly displayed in a horizontal arrangement (for example, "14+5=") with minimum of distraction, and the directions are very clear.

For students who are having difficulty memorizing number facts, these drills could be a useful supplement to teacher or parent instructions. The pace can be fast or slow, and the display of personal best time motivates students to improve with each set of problems. I liked that the program highlights incorrect problems. The record-keeping feature is also very beneficial, storing the last five results for each student and making it possible for only the instructor to have access to those records.

Colleen Thrailkill
Davidson Elementary School,
Davidson, NC

Click here to download the PDF version of this review by NCTM.

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