Math Analogies Level 1 {review}

Critical Thinking Company Review

We were recently chosen to review a math analogy software program.  Math is something my son (Connor, age 7) struggles with.  I'm always seeking ways to help him out in this area, without overwhelming the poor fella.  The past 6 weeks, reviewing Math Analogies Level 1, has been a great blessing to Connor. 

What is Math Analogies Level 1?

The Critical Thinking Co. offers several different products of various subjects and format, at all levels or grades.  Math Analogies Level 1,intended for Grades 2-3, is just one of many products offered by this company.  This is a computer software program that encourages the understanding of analogical and mathematical reasoning, which helps your student to see patterns in a problem, break it down and produce a solution.

This particular Math Analogies program is for a windows operating system only (it will not operate on a Mac OS).  You will need a Windows 8, 7 or Vista platform, a CPU of 1GHz or better and a RAM of 512 MB for this software to function properly.  There is also an option to, instead, purchase the program via your iPad or Android Tablet by downloading from the iTunes App Store or Google Play.

Math Analogies Level 1 is intended for one student at a time.  At the start of the program one name is entered and there are then up to 4 attempts made at a set of 152 analogies. The 2nd attempt would then be any analogies answered incorrectly during attempt 1, the 3rd attempt is any missed at the 2nd attempt and so on.  After the child's 4th, and last attempt, you can then start over with another student or begin again with the same child.  When you start over, no data is saved.

How We Used This

Upon ordering the windows download version of Math Analogies you will be emailed a link to download your product.  Once we received our email link, I found the program downloaded and installed quickly and easily.

Once installed you will need to enter a serial number, which is sent in a separate email.  You simply retrieve your number, activate online and you are all set on your way of helping to make your children better problem solvers!

I am not a mathematically inclined person.  I remember always being completely confused on my state testing, back in public school, when I'd encounter an analogy, so I'd just answer by guessing.  I still don't have a large understanding of analogies, so when we began this program I was a bit anxious as to how to approach this with Connor (age 8). 

When we turned on the program I was very pleased to see two links, "How to Solve an Analogy" as well as "About These Analogies".  We explored both links to get a better understanding of what we were doing.

Under "About These Analogies" we found a written explanation of what an analogy is and how to solve one.  With the link for "How to Solve an Analogy" we found a simple animated walk-through of sample analogies, with a clear, easy to understand, voice narration.  This is the only place you will encounter any noise at all within the program.  There are no "bells or whistles" within the program.  After browsing the helpful links I finally understood and was able to help Connor work through his problems.

Connor is very resistant to any math, usually, so as to not overwhelm or discourage him we worked together and would do just 10-15 problems for each day we scheduled Math Analogies into our school day.  We were able to stop and resume the program with ease, as it just picks up wherever you left off the day before.

This is an American program, so we did encounter American money (we are Canadian) on any analogy that involved coins.  For us, this wasn't an issue as we often travel to the U.S. to visit relatives and our children will need to know both systems.

We completed the whole process from "First Attempt" through "Fourth Attempt" in about 5 weeks time, going at a steady pace of 10-15 analogies.  The screen shot above shows Connor's first attempt ever at analogies, working at a 2nd grade level, so he got many wrong.  He was discouraged until I explained to him this is for grades 2 through 3 and we haven't learned many of the topics yet which is fine.

My Thoughts

I believe Math Analogies is a good program at a fair price.  The analogies give your student a chance to work through problems with a different perspective.  By the end of our first session (all 4 attempts) with Math Analogies Connor was able to recognize that problems can be broken down to be solved.   He then restarted and worked 10 problems a scheduled day all on his own.

This is something we are going to continue to use for the remainder of the year and into next year, periodically, until he can grasp the concepts with ease.  Then we will certainly move forth and purchase the next level.

I think this is great for any homeschooler whether you have state testing or not, as it will help broaden your child's reasoning and thinking skills. This could certainly have helped me, in my school days, better answer my own state tests and as such this would be especially beneficial to purchase for your public school children that will receive testing.

If you want to know more you can visit the Critical Thinking Co. at the following social media sites:  Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

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