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Discover the Basics: Perimeter, Area, & Volume Review by Stacy Kalisz

Jeff Simpson
Mastery Learning Systems
532 North School Street
Ukiah, CA 954582

Discover the Basics: Perimeter, Area, & Volume provides 250 pages of instruction and practice. This text covers the fundamentals (such as measuring and converting inches, feet, yards, meters, and centimeters) and also explores pi and the Pythagorean Theorem comprehensively. More specifically, (as stated in the introduction to the text) this book enables students to "calculate perimeters and circumferences; areas of rectangles, triangles, parallelograms, trapezoids, and circles, lengths of hypotenuses, surface areas, and volumes. Part of this work involves triangles of different kinds, squared numbers, square roots, and (pi)." The introduction is a must-read as it explains how to use the program and also gives helpful teaching suggestions.

As with every product from Mastery Learning Systems, Discover the Basics: Perimeter, Area, & Volume is much more than memorizing facts and theories. It teaches why these facts exist and what they mean. Intended for grades five and above, Discover the Basics: Perimeter, Area, & Volume assumes the student has mastered basic multiplication and division. In this program, children actually experience math facts through pictures and exercises that apply to real life. This in turn enables children to connect with the material and develop real understanding that sticks. I believe the "sticking" of these math facts is partly because the lessons move slowly. Small concepts are worked on multiple times and from multiple angles before new topics are introduced. This pace allows children to understand the concept presented and feel comfortable as they move on.

Discover the Basics: Perimeter, Area, & Volume is a multi-sensory approach, but you won't need to buy manipulatives! When studying about the square foot, children are asked to cut a square foot out of butcher paper, cardboard, or poster board (things a homeschooling family often has on hand). Similarly, when learning about surface area, children cut out a template for a cube, fold it up, and glue it. This shows very clearly what surface area is.

When the Pythagorean Theorem is taught, information about where and when Pythagoras lived is included (as is the Greek alphabet, which helps with understanding the use of ). This is a perfect example of how Mastery Learning Systems strives to teach children math. Lessons are always logical and never ask students to do exercises they don't understand.

I think it is obvious that I like this product . It is simple to use and written in a way that just makes sense. I wish I'd had this program when I was in school! My only complaint is that there could be a little more white space. The pages are quite full of information. But this is just a small issue.

Discover the Basics: Perimeter, Area, & Volume is perfect for homeschooling families and classrooms alike. It is excellent for those who are just beginning to learn about this subject, but it would also be useful for remedial work and review. It covers each aspect of perimeter, area, and volume thoroughly and comprehensively. If you want to teach these concepts for the first time or have a student who is struggling with them, I encourage you to look at this program. I'm excited to own this product and recommend it enthusiastically!

Product review by Stacy Kalisz, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2011