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Get A Grip! on Math & Science Skills Review by Teri Lucas

(Grades K through 6)
TOPS Learning Systems
10970 S. Mulino Road
Canby, OR 97013

It is absolutely amazing! If you've have never tried any of the TOPS Learning Systems products, then you are in for a real treat. If you have tried them, then you know exactly what I am talking about. Who would ever imagine that a bunch of recyclables like a plain brown cardboard box, some old empty pill bottles, and baby food jars, coupled with two plastic containers of beans, and a few other makeshift items would literally change the way you "think" about math and science!

Get A Grip! is designed to provide "learners" with a solid understanding of mathematical relationships based entirely on experience. Using a series of puzzles the student progresses through the program that is entirely self-paced and self checking, building on previously learned skills. Symbols such as a circle, a square, or a person - instead of numbers - teach the children to use symbolic language effortlessly. They are acquiring the basics of fractions and algebra quite naturally!

Get A Grip! is designed to be used from Kindergarten through the sixth grade. The "workbook," which is not REALLY a workbook at all, consists of a series of small puzzle books, "A" through "P." Puzzle Set "A" covers the concepts of "more than/less than." Puzzle Set "B" covers "quantity comparison concepts," like those used in multiplication. For example, two stars (this would be a picture) = one square (also, a picture). Set "C" explores "addition concepts" like "fish" + "heart" = "?" Are you getting this? Are you seeing how EASY your child is experiencing "math" through pouring, measuring, scooping, and touching?!

Additional skills gained throughout the program include subtraction, volume, fractions, mixed fractions, decimals, hypothesis testing, estimation, and percentages. The TOPS people advertise their kits as "learning adventures," and indeed they truly are! As I said before, it is just unbelievable what this little unadorned "kit" can do. Even more unbelievable is the fact that your children will like doing it. They will actually look forward to it! In fact, I am so thrilled with this product that I already have two of their other kits picked out for the next school year: Animal Survival and Intermediate Lentil Science.

-- Product Review by: Teri Lucas, Staff Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine