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Fabulous Fractions Workbook and CD, Grades 4-6 Review by Cindy West

AIMS Education Foundation
P.O. Box 8120
Fresno, CA 93747
888-733-2467
http://www.aimsedu.org/

I have used AIMS products for years. Way back when, as a public school teacher, AIMS books were my go-to choice for math and science related unit studies. Their material is always top-notch and I'm so glad to see they are actively marketing to homeschoolers!

With the above said, I think it's only fair to tell you that Fabulous Fractions, like all AIMS books I've seen, is written with classrooms in mind. In other words, lessons often suggest that groups of children work together to complete a task. In almost every instance, it's been very easy to do the activity with only one child, but I think it's important to know that you will be reading lesson plans written for classroom teachers.

Now, let's move on to the good stuff. AIMS stands for Activities Integrating Math and Science. Through very hands-on, well-documented lessons, children make real connections to math and science concepts. The fun lessons include reproducibles that help children keep notes, organize information and "see" the results of their experiences. These student pages are black & white, but very engaging with clear expectations. For your convenience, a CDROM comes with the book that includes PDF files of all the student sheets.

Sometimes, the parent will be expected to gather a few common materials or make other lesson preparations, but all needs are obviously noted in the teacher's section of each lesson. Additionally, the teacher's notes include some background information, notes about making the lesson flow well, and step-by-step procedures. You'll also find suggestions for ways to evaluate your child's understanding, such as pertinent questions to ask and things to look for in completed assignments. Each of these sections is easy to read and implement.

Fabulous Fractions is a math-based unit for 3rd-5th grade students that meets several common core standards for mathematics. In more than 30 lessons, a full line up of fraction concepts is covered. Some of the topics include:

  • understanding numerators and denominators;
  • recognizing fractions as part of a group;
  • finding equivalent fractions;
  • finding common denominators;
  • adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions;
  • relating fractions to decimals and percentages; and
  • using fractions in linear measurement.

Within each lesson, the learning goals are clear and a key question is given that your child should be able to answer by the end. There is a checklist at the back of the book where you can keep track of the skills mastered and those you need to reteach. Answers for most of the student activities are provided for you within the step-by-step lesson procedures, however, there is no simple-to-check answer guide. Since the lessons are very teacher driven, it's assumed you will be on top of the comprehension as the lesson progresses.

If you're brave enough to step away from the textbook (at least for a little while), Fabulous Fractions can take over the entire math time as an in-depth, comprehensive unit study. If you're not brave enough to let this book take the place of your regular textbook, I'm sure any child struggling with fractions will find the supplemental hands-on lessons to finally turn on the fraction light bulb! My children love anything AIMS and Fabulous Fractions hasn't been an exception.

Product Review by Cindy West, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January, 2012

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