Monday, June 11, 2007

Review: Learning Palette Mathematics

Learning Palette Mathematics

Learning Wrap-Ups, plastic palette and colored discs with self-correcting card sets

(This review is based on use of the first and third grade sets).

Actual size is approx. 12 in. diameterThis clever learning tool for young children features an almost 12 inch diameter "palette" which holds a double-sided learning card and 12 different colored discs. A clear plastic lid is included. I have been very impressed with how these palettes hold up under a lot of use (and occasional abuse from babies and toddlers). Each card has pictorial equations or problems on one side. The child matches the correct color/shape disc with the answer he chooses. When finished placing all twelve discs, he can turn the card over and correct the answers himself.

Cards are purchased in sets of 12 (a total of 144 problems since there are 12 problems per page). Math sets are available for first through third grade. There are six card sets available for each of these three grades:

Three sets of Numeration Cards: The numeration sets cover all kinds of basic math operations with an appropriate level of challenge and content.

One set of Algebra Concept Cards: First grade algebra card "challenges" include recognizing missing numbers and finding missing shapes. The third grade cards involve solving for the unknown in addition subtraction, multiplication and division.

One set of Geometry and Measurement Cards: First grade cards cover shape names, volume, calendars, telling time and reading thermometers. The third grade set covers includes problems regarding perimeter, area, geometric forms and terms, simple graphing and units of measurement.

One set of Probability and Statistics Cards: These cards cover topics like "more and less likely" and tallying in the first grade set. The third grade set provides practice in the relationship between fractions and probability, determining the likelihood of an event and using the data from charts to draw conclusions.

I am very impressed with the level of challenge and variety of topics covered at appropriate age-levels (they meet the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics standards). We have found these particularly nice because they offer mental stimulation while taking a break from writing-skills (which can be very taxing on children in the early grades). For example, we used these with my third grade son last year as a supplement to MCP 3rd Grade Math. Some days he would just do Learning Palettes for his Math assignment. (In addition, I had him spend some time doing mazes and other fine-motor skill building activities.) He didn't do every page of the MCP book - instead I let him test out of some of the chapters (he had to achieve a very good score in order to skip the chapter - naturally we had to discuss some concepts as they came up on the Learning Palettes as well).

Investing in the entire line of Learning Palettes can be rather expensive. The Palette itself is about $15 and each card set is $10 (you can buy grade-level groupings of six sets for a little less). I found this investment to be quite worthwhile since the product is non-consumable (and quite sturdy). The material is very straightforward and well thought-out.

Reviewed by Alicia Van Hecke (7-7-05)

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