We have been Rightstart Math users (almost) from the very beginning. When my daughter finished level E at the end of last year I didn’t feel confident that she was ready for pre-algebra…mostly due to her young age. So, I looked at my options and I put together a mish-mash of Rightstart Fractions and Level G, and threw in some Beast Academy and Hands on Equations as well.
Today I thought I would show you the new fractions book. This book is new (copyright 2014) to the Rightstart line-up…before it was simply levels A-E and G (for geometry). I’ve read many comments over the years from people who felt that level E (1st edition) was not quite enough in the fraction department. Having just finished level E at the end of last year, I do tend to agree with this assessment. While my daughter became fairly proficient at adding, subtracting, mulitplying, and simplifying fractions, I was worried that she may not retain that information. Many people remedy that situation by playing math card games that involve fractions for several weeks. But, I’m just not a big game player. I do play every now and then, but the idea of playing a math game every day is just not that appealing to me.
In the end, I decided that it would be worth trying out this fraction level.
The first thing that you notice is that this level is only meant to be used for 42.5 days. If you used it 5 days a week then you would finish up in about 2 months…it’s certainly not meant to fill a full year.
I’ve decided to mix up levels F and G with the AOPS Beast Academy 3B-3D with Hands on Equations. Why? We had already added in Beast Academy 3A and Hands on Equations while we were finishing up Rightstart Level E, and my daughter enjoyed them. She also wanted to move on to Rightstart Level G, but I wanted her to cement her understanding of fractions first. Each day we do 1-2 problems from Hands on Equations and then we continue with one of the three other programs.
Here is our Frakenstein math schedule:
- Monday-Hands on Equations (HOE) and Rightstart Fractions
- Tuesday-HOE and Beast Academy
- Wednesday-HOE and Rightstart Fractions
- Thursday-HOE and Rightstart Level G (these lessons take the longest of everything)
- Friday-HOE and Beast Academy
Back to Rightstart Fractions:
You will need the following cards to play the games: fraction and percent cards, basic number cards, and multiplication cards. On page iv of the lessons book it tells you what needs to be on the cards so that you can make these yourselves (I highly suggest laminating them), or you can find them in Rightstart’s math card games kit.
There is also a booklet of worksheets in addition to the lessons book.
What the lessons look like:
I have included photos of several of the lessons so that you can get a better idea of how Rightstart approaches fractions and what a typical lesson looks like.
This lesson is part of the introductory lessons. The intro to this lesson is a teacher-guided lesson to introduce how to divide rectangles, make tick marks, and crosshatch. It should take only a few minutes. Once you are sure that your student understands this process then they will fill out a worksheet – one of the few found in this program. As you can see we are on day 7 and the student will be using worksheet number 2. If you like a worksheet based approach, then Rightstart would not be for you.
After the worksheet is completed (notice how they work on equivalent fractions) there is a game suggested. We have played probably half of the games so far, depending on the amount of time we have that day and if I feel that my daughter could use some extra practice or fun.
This lesson is all about emphasizing the fact that division and fractions are the same. It is very similar to day 7: the intro is teacher-guided and then there is a worksheet (number 9). After the worksheet there is another game suggested to help cement the concept of equivalent fractions.
This lesson covers subtracting fractions. Previous lessons have focused on simplifying fractions and finding the lowest common multiple, so the student should be well prepared to subtract fractions that do not have a common denominator. What I love about Rightstart is that there is rarely any busy work. As you can see in this lesson the teacher/parent goes over 4 problems with the student. If your student understands and shows mastery then you move on. If your student needs more practice then you can easily make up your own problems and/or play the fraction subtraction game that is on the next page.
I wanted to include this lesson because many people are confused as to how to teach multiplication and/or division of fractions without relying on teaching the standard algorithm. In my opinion, we are doing our students a disservice if we don’t allow them the opportunity to discover the algorithm, allowing them to really own the right to use it. I know that I wasn’t taught in this manner and so many light bulbs went off in my head as I went through the various Rightstart levels with my daughter. I think that Rightstart really excels in this area…better than Singapore and AOPS Beast Academy.
My thoughts thus far:
We are on day 11 (a little more than one-fourth of the way through the lessons) and so far it’s all been far too easy for my daughter…but I like that. She definitely is not afraid of fractions and she enjoys having some “easy math.” In my opinion, this has been a good review and I’m glad to see that she learned quite a bit in level E. We will see how she fares in the next few weeks as we go through the operations and simplifying with fractions.