Other Choices: CoolMath, Hotmath, FactMonster
Education: The site includes resources to help parents and teachers explain why math is important -- plus fun problems that teach kids a variety of math principles.
Synopsis: Complex math concepts presented as real-world examples.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that kids should enjoy the very visual, real-life examples given in Figure This' math problems. From the probably of two kids at the same school having the same initials to how far a paper airplane can fly, there are over 76 challenges in all. The challenges cover topics from algebra and geometry to statistics and probability. There's no way to interact with other users on the site, so you don't have to worry about your child interacting with strangers.
- Families can talk about why math is important -- why should kids learn more than just basic addition and subtraction? (The site has additional materials for parents to help illustrate math's many benefits.)
- Learning math also helps kids think logically. They may find some concepts easier to understand with a visual. Ask them if any of the problems on the site seemed more clear once they formed a picture in their head or drew one on paper.
- The site offers hints to give extra information about each math problem. Did your child find some problems easier to solve after seeing the additional clue?
What's the story?
Figure This! features engaging math problems that illustrate concepts like projecting salary growth, estimating percentages, and graphing information to analyze trends. However, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics-sponsored site's challenges are much more interesting than cut-and-dry number problems. Each involves a detailed example that kids can relate to, such as the probability of two people at the same school having the same initials.
Is it any good?
Kids who aren't crazy about math may find a little integer, probability, and algebra inspiration on FIGURE THIS! Sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (with governmental funding from groups like the National Science Foundation), the site features dozens of math problems that can help kids visualize how principles like fractions and geometric angles work.The challenges are listed by mathematical topic and by title. Each challenge contains a hint to help kids out, the correct answer (with an explanation), and extra questions and reading suggestions to extend learning. Adding age suggestions would make the site an even stronger learning resource. However, kids can likely gauge which math problems involve concepts they're familiar with -- or figure out new math theories using the site's detailed examples. Additional materials are also available to help teachers and parents with math instruction.
The Good Stuff
Messages: Kids are encouraged to challenge themselves and try additional math problems.
Educational Value: The site includes resources to help parents and teachers explain why math is important -- plus fun problems that teach kids a variety of math principles.
What to watch out for
Violence Not an issue
Sex: Not an issue
Language: Not an issue
Consumerism: The site is ad-free.
Drinking, drugs & smoking: Not an issue