I’m not a fan of the majority of online math programs. Most are lack luster, full of fluff or geared to passing a test rather than learning.
Recently my 11 year old daughter was given a year membership to UnLock Pre-Algebra through The Schoolhouse Review Crew. I was pleased to discover that UnLock Math is the Cadillac of all virtual math programs! Created by Matt and Alesia Blackwood, UnLock Math differs from other online programs.
- Each lesson contains a full blown demonstration where the teacher is heard AND seen.
- State of the art touch screen board is used to demonstrate new math concepts.
- Students work their practice problems through MapleSoft – a testing & assessment platform utilized by many colleges and universities worldwide.
- First-class upgrades allow UnLock Math to move past offering voiced-over, stagnant graphics with multiple choice questions as the only testing option.
- UnLock Math seeks to help students grow in their math abilities over simply passing a test!
Using UnLock Pre-Algebra
Upon login, an overview of the program greets the student displaying what’s been accomplished and what still lies ahead. A blue unlocked symbol indicates completed units. A purple unlocked symbol indicates “in progress” units and a purple locked symbol indicates work to be completed.
Within the current unit, a pie chart breaks down completed/non-completed work even further.
Clicking onto the rocket under the launch column brings you to this page where you can view individual lessons.
And, after clicking on an individual lesson, you are brought to that lesson’s specific landing page. From here you can access Warm Ups, video instruction, Reference Notes, Practice Problems, Stay Sharp Problems and Challenge Questions.
First, a warm up.
Once these questions are completed and submitted, the video portion is viewed.
View a sample lesson.
Then, your student is on to the Practice Problems. Once these are completed and submitted, the program tells how many are correct. Just click on ‘details’ to view the listing of problems and go over any corrections.
The corrections are very helpful and go into detail WHY the answer is incorrect!
Next, a little review to help you “Stay Sharp”.
Parents can easily login to get detailed information on their child’s progress and peak into the Gradebook!
Our Experience with UnLock Math PreAlgebra
Admittedly, we are a bit of math snobs. We have our favorite program and have used it for years! However, being curious about curricula in general, I did check out UnLock Math. What drew me to want to try this program was Alesia’s passion for teaching and her ability to breakdown concepts into bite sized chunks.
In our home, the first born is our resident math expert. He loves math. He loves to teach math, and he’s very good at it. As a result, my daughter generally goes to him if she needs help. He is her preferred teacher. She also has a different learning style. Instead of gaining knowledge in incremental steps, she moves a bit slower than most but experiences incredible leaps in her ability. In the end, she ends up even with her peers, although her journey looks a bit different. Because of that, she doesn’t do well with just any teacher. Thus, her preference for her older brother. Inspite of this, I had a really good feeling about how my daughter would do with UnLock Math’s program. Turns out, I was right!!! I think she sees a little bit of “girl power” in getting instruction from another female who is so gifted at explaining math in a way she understands!
One thing we believe strongly in this house is not moving on to a new concept until the present concept has been mastered. I was pleased to see that I was able to keep my daughter in a particular lesson working on the practice problems until she mastered the concept! And this in particular was with Subtracting Integers. We had had no problems up until this point, but some reason, this concept wasn’t sticking. So, we spent a week just working and reworking this lesson. Finally it stuck and she moved on. Amazingly since we took extra time where it was needed, she absolutely cruised through Multiplying Integers with lightning speed! That’s my girl! And this is a program that does her good adapting to her needs!
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