Monday, March 10, 2014

Review: Mastering 5th Grade Math-Volume 1-Essentials of Fractions is a company that offers a variety of math and science teaching DVDs.  In 2012, I had the opportunity to review their Amazing Science Volume 1 DVD, and I loved it so much I was thrilled when I was given the opportunity to review one of their math DVDs:  Mastering 5th Grade Math-Volume 1-Essentials of Fractions.  The target grade levels for this DVD are grades 4-6, and it's priced at $15.99.

Like many other homeschooling moms, I feel like I can never get enough math help.  I also like it when my boys are able to learn from other teachers.  Teachers on DVDs don't lose their patience or grow tired of explaining a concept again.  Enter Jason Gibson, a man passionate about teaching science and math. He's an actual Rocket Scientist who has degrees in Engineering and Physics.  He's been creating award winning videos since 2004, with the goal of explaining how science and math relate to one another.

There are 16 lessons on the Mastering 5th Grade Math-Volume 1-Essentials of Fractions DVD:
  1. Review of Fraction Concepts
  2. Writing Fractions as Words
  3. Finding Factors of a Number
  4. Finding the Greatest Common Factor
  5. Finding the GCF of 3 Numbers
  6. Prime Factorization
  7. Equivalent Fractions
  8. Renaming Fractions
  9. Simplifying Fractions Part 1
  10. Simplifying Fractions Part 2
  11. Review of Improper Fractions
  12. Review of Mixed Fractions
  13. Converting Mixed Fractions to Improper Fractions
  14. Converting Improper Fractions to Mixed Fractions
  15. Thinking about Fractions as Division
  16. Writing a Whole Number as a Fraction
Lessons seem to average about 15 minutes. In addition to each teaching video, there are printable worksheets included on a separate DVD (also included on this DVD are the lessons in mp4 format). There are about 2-3 worksheets per lesson, and there is also a printable answer key.  Each worksheet has 10 problems.  I appreciated the clean, uncluttered appearance of the worksheets, and the fact they are clearly labelled:

I used this with Jacob, my 6th grader.  He watched the DVD lessons on a laptop, and then completed the associated worksheets.  Fractions are not a new concept for him--just something he needed some extra practice/reinforcement with.  He completed about a lesson a day.  If fractions were a new concept, or if he were really struggling, I would have spread the worksheets out over a few days.  

I asked Jacob what he thought about the DVD, and he really enjoyed it.  He never complained about it, even though math tends to be his least loved subject.  He told me that he teacher was engaging and he enjoyed watching the lessons, and he thinks that Mr. Gibson explains fractions well.  Jacob feels like he understands some things about fractions better than before he completed the DVD lessons.  From grading Jacob's completed worksheets, he seems to understand the content well.

Mastering 5th Grade Math-Volume 1-Essentials of Fractions is the first of four volumes in this series.  The remaining 3 DVDs focus on adding and subtracting fractions, multiplying and dividing fractions, order of operations, decimals, long division, and more.  If you're looking for something to supplement your current math program, or if you have a student struggling with fractions, you should check out this DVD from

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