Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Learning to Multiply With Math-U-See Gamma {A TOS Review}

I have always wanted to try Math-U-See from the family-owned company, Demme Learning, but the opportunity never presented itself until just recently. Demme Learning has recently introduced their Digital Packs and we were blessed to receive not only the one year access to the Gamma level of Math-U-See, but also the physical set to help facilitate the use of the Digital Packs.

Let's look at what comes with the curriculum.
The Digital Pack contains:
  • 12 months of access to the Gamma streaming instructional videos
  • Instruction Manual PDF
  • Lesson and Test Solutions
  • Math-U-See Digital Manipulatives (for use on Chrome or Safari)
  • Skip Count Songs MP3
  • Skip Count Songs Song Book PDF
  • Additional Resources on the website including Worksheet Generator, Online Drills and Gamma Record Keeping Sheet
The Physical Components we received are:
  • DVD of the Gamma instructional videos
  • Teacher Instruction Manual with Lesson and Test Solutions in the back of the book
  • Physical Set of Manipulative Integer Blocks
  • Test Book
  • Student Workbook

As you can see, the Digital Pack contains almost the same components as the Physical Pack. 

I did want to note that purchase of the physical student workbook and test book are still required if purchasing the Digital Pack.

As we have never used Math-U-See before, I was very thankful to receive the physical set which includes the manipulatives, Teacher manual, Student workbook, test book, and DVD. As we already had the Digital Pack, the only additonal components that were truly necessary were the Student workbook and test book. I think it was very generous of the company to send us a complete physical pack because I was then able to see how we would use this program with or without the physical components. 

Tabitha has mastered addition and subtraction meaning she was able to start with Gamma, which is multiplication. I had her take the placement test to ensure that she was in the correct level. I had actually started multiplication with her previously, but I wanted to make sure she really understood it, The books I had been using with her didn't really explain WHAT multiplication was, so I was very happy to get the chance to use Math -U-See. With this curriculum Tabitha gets to watch the video instruction plus use the manipulatives and practice on worksheets before taking a test to gauge her understanding. She is also supposed to teach it to someone to really make sure she has mastered it.

We started out by watching the video lesson together on the computer. Tabitha would bring the manipulatives to the coffee table in the living room and sit on the floor or in a chair next to it while watching the lesson. I then pulled the lesson's worksheets out of the workbook and placed them in her binder. Each lesson has multiple worksheets. There are three Lesson Practice sheets plus three Systematic Review sheets and an Application & Enrichment sheet. The Lesson Practice sheets focus on the current lesson and it is up to the parent how many of them the child is required to complete. If your child is grasping the concept, one sheet may be plenty. If the child is struggling, the can practice on the additional sheets. There is also a Worksheet Generator online where a parent can create and print out more practice sheets. The Systematic Review pages include problems for the current lesson, plus review from previous lessons. It is recommended that all of the the systematic review pages plus the Application page be completed. 

In order to show that they have really grasped the concept, the child is then to teach the lesson back to the parent. Tabitha really went to town on this part of the assignment the fist time.

She got a kick out of being my teacher.

As we moved on to later lessons, she also took turns explaining the concepts to daddy as well. I love to see how she is grasping these concepts. 

Even though we were watching the lessons on the computer, I have mentioned that we were still using the physical manipulatives. In order to use the blocks at the same time as teacher Steve on the video, I couldn't really figure out another way to comfortably have Tabitha use the manipulatives. Then I realized she could be using the online manipulatives on my tablet while watching the lesson on the computer.

With the online manipulatives we can manipulate the blocks and also write information. 

Here is what the online manipulatives screen looks like on the computer.

The blocks are added to the work area by clicking on the required  block at the bottom of the screen. They can be rotated by right-clicking on the block and then dragged into position.  By clicking on the pen/paper icon, the child can then write on the screen using the mouse. 

As you can see, the screen on my tablet is just about identical. I admit, I prefer using the tablet to write information as it is easier to write using my fingertip as opposed to holding down the button on the mouse. I had better control. However, it was easier to rotate the manipulates on the computer. It will obviously be up to the individual user to decide which way works best for them.

I can definitely see how it would be very convenient to just purchase a Digital Pack with the additional Student workbook and test books. However, the fact that it is only for a 12 month period has me a bit concerned. Once you purchase a physical pack, you would have the DVD for additional children to use the program. All you would have to purchase is the Student workbook and test book. With the digital pack you would have to pay for the Digital Pack again plus the student workbook and test book. Of course, that could be a very wise purchase if you only have one child.

I am so glad we got a chance to review Math-U-See Gamma Digital Packs. Tabitha is enjoying learning through the videos. I am so glad I realized she can use the digital manipulatives on the tablet so she can be fully online. I do feel there is a place for the physical set of manipulatives. To old-fashioned mommy, it feels more like a true manipulative, more hands-on. But in this computer age, I can definitely see the benefits to having the manipulatives online. For me, the two biggest benefits of the digital manipulatives are 1- Not being able to lose them and 2- Being able to use them on the go.

Tabitha is also learning the skip counting songs. I would love to purchase the actual CD because while the MP3 is convenient for listening to at the computer, I would love to be able to take the CD with us. My other concern is that we have to listen to the entire file as a whole and it is very hard to skip to the song we would like to focus on. I wish there was a way to break the MP3 file into tracks.

All in all, I definitely see the benefits of the new Math-U-See Digital Packs from Demme Learning. Math-U-See is a great math program that has been enhanced by these new digital packs.

You can learn more about Math-U-See at their social media sites:





Demme Learning's Math-U-See Review
Crew Disclaimer


  1. I so want this program. It looks so amazing. Going to actually look into this today. We actually had the math u see blocks many years ago and my son loved it. I love that its hands on.

  2. Great review! It's always fun to see how other crew members use the products. We received Alpha and it has been such a blessing. Thanks for sharing about Gamma!


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