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Dimensions Math 7 (Singapore Math) Review by Melanie SchemanskiSingapore Math Inc.
19535 SW 129th Ave
Tualatin OR, 97062
Dimensions Math for seventh grade includes two semesters, 7A and 7B. For each semester there is a Workbook, Teaching Notes and Solutions, Workbook Solutions, and a second Workbook that gives additional practice. There are a total of eight books for the complete seventh grade school year. These are actual workbooks, and do not require any online work. Dimensions Math covers all of the Common Core material for the seventh-grade year. It begins with Factors and Multiples and then Real Numbers. After these chapters, there is an introduction to Algebra and then Algebraic Manipulation. The previous information then builds into solving Simple Equations. After the Algebra introduction, the student will learn Ratio, Rate, Speed, Percentage, Angles and Triangles. This is all just in the first semester which I find very thorough. 7B workbooks take the student through Number Patterns, Graphs, Inequalities, Perimeters and Area, Proportions and Probability. The total cost for the year is $157 for all eight products.
Designed for middle school math, Dimensions can be used in the school setting or homeschool setting. It does follow Common Core standards for the state if that is something you are specifically looking for. Each lesson can be finished in one day, and has different components for learning. Designed to help the student to become more independent, the instructions and examples are clearly written with key concepts highlighted in blue. After the teaching section there is a Classroom Activity. Most of the time these can be done individually, but it is meant for cooperative learning. This is a good place for the parent teacher to be involved. Each lesson contains several examples as well as a problem for the student to try on their own. There are times that more than one concept is taught in a lesson, which will then have an additional Classroom Activity as well as examples. The student then answers questions about the lesson. We chose to answer them in a notebook, as there isn’t enough room in the workbook to work the problems. You could also work the problems on different paper and then circle the correct answers in the workbook for ease of grading. The Teaching Notes and Solutions is quite handy for grading purposes.
We worked through one lesson a day, for four or five days a week. I find that Math needs that repetition and should be done daily. We started out together for my 14-year-old to see how to use workbooks. He has always had an online math program and workbooks was something new for him. After just a short time he was working independently unless he had a question on something. I chose not to use the additional workbook with more problems. I felt that the work he did in each lesson was enough for one day. I think if you had an advanced learner, or even one who struggled, the extra workbook would come in handy. I had been a little concerned about the Common Core aspect as we have not run into that yet in our homeschool. I didn’t find too many variations in the concepts from what I remember learning as a middle schooler. There wasn’t anything that confused me or was what I like to call ‘new math’.
Singapore Math has a reputation for being an excellent math program. I don’t want there to be any gaps in learning, and I find using a workbook helps make sure of that. Additionally, it helps me have a better idea what is upcoming in the sequence of learning.
I liked that it was independent of the internet, while so many math programs are online. It is much more portable, and less distraction when it is not tied to a computer. It is also reusable, especially if you mark your answers in a separate book. If you choose to use the workbook to keep track of your answers that would be the only thing you would have to purchase for additional students. I was unsure where to place my 14-year-old into Math since he has always done an online program that doesn’t appear to give him the structure he needs. We chose a grade below his current grade and I felt this was a good choice. We did find some holes that we could fill in for his learning.
The lessons sometimes are a little on the long side. I try not to go over 45 minutes for math, so as not to overwhelm my student. Some of the lessons we just would cut out the sections beyond basic and further practice. Visual learners may struggle with reading the instructions on how to do the work, rather than seeing it in video form. Students who are used to the workbook format shouldn’t have any trouble. I will consider Singapore Math for my upcoming middle school students, especially as I desire to get away from internet based curriculum.
-Product review by Melanie Schemanski, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January, 2017