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Mathability: Math in the Real World

Author: Michael Cain
Product Code: 065
ISBN: 978-1-59363-106-2
Pages: 80
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Mathability gives students the experience and ability to analyze and solve real-life mathematical problems, and explain their methods for arriving at the solution. Mathability is an excellent resource for preparing students for the performance tasks of standards-based tests. The six units in this book each have 10 problems that deal with a variety of real-life situations, such as those at a construction site, on vacation, in a business, and at home. The open-ended problems let students hone their skills in geometry, probability, percentages, use of charts, algebra, number relations/operations, money, and decimals.

Open-ended performance tasks have become a mainstay of standards-based testing. It is one of the tasks that most students perform at below proficiency level. Much of this low performance is due to a student’s lack of experience with writing explanations of the mathematics that made it possible to solve the problem. Mathabilty presents a systematic approach that will lead students to proficiency.

Within each unit, this book provides four different levels of problems. The Step-by-Step Level leads a student through the problem and provides a format for presenting their answers. The Prompted Level provides the format for presenting the solution and hints on how to solve the problem. The Independent Level allows students to solve and explain their answers on their own, and the Challenge Level problems present a venue for gifted and talented students to push their skills to a higher level.

Grades 5–8


Review by: Diane McElwain, Teaching Children Mathematics - February 1, 2007
The book offers many advantages to the elementary school mathematics program. As a supplement to the mathematics program, each of the activities contains an area for students to complete their calculations and explain the solution process. To help the students focus on the solution process, only one problem appears on each page. All the Mathability activities represent an application of the Standards-based curriculum. The book also presents a structure for an assessment rubric that includes four levels: mastery, proficient level, near-proficient answers, and nonproficient answers. Mathability provides students with extended-response practice while emphasizing a Standards-based curriculum through the application of real-world problems.
Review by: Susan Alicea, Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School - January 1, 2006
This book is great if you are looking for a program to supplement your curriculum and give your students an alternative to pages of disconnected word problems.
Review by: James Cox, Midwest Book Review - June 20, 2005
Expertly written by Michael Cain and quite nicely illustrated by Mary Lou Johnson, Mathability: Math in the Real World is a consumable workbook whose exercises and activities are specifically designed to teach children in grades 5 through 8 how people use math in their daily lives. By practicing the mathematics involved in each of the presented “real life” situations, the children will learn, practice, and come to an understanding of key techniques and problem-solving strategies, as well as seeing practical applications for the math they are learning in school. Mathability is especially commended as a curriculum supplement for homeschooling.
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