My problem with them is that sometimes they really miss the mark. Here's the cover:
Really? Third grade and up? I rail all the time about my students arriving in 9th grade without a clear grasp of fractions and clueless about operations with fractions (sans calculator), limited fluency with percents and decimals, and an unsteady grasp of their multiplication tables and other basic stuff. I had usually blamed the 3rd through 6th grade teachers for not really understanding arithmetic and passing on any math phobias, but this seems like a major problem right here.
If the expectation is that this kind of thing is possible for 3rd grade and up, maybe it shouldn't be a surprise that fractions and arithmetic aren't getting as much attention.
- Is this typical? Do third grade teachers really do this?
- Is it just a stupid cover by a catalog desperate to sell overpriced AlgeBlocks to a gullible school system?
- Shouldn't we be solidifying knowledge to the point of automaticity instead of spreading algebraic materials ever lower?
- I'm pretty sure that a few third graders could get this but is it appropriate for that level?
- Is it possible without manipulatives at this age?
- Are manipulatives appropriate?
- Does the use of something tangible and obviously fixed in size get in the way of learning an abstract idea about a variable?