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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that LearnBop is an online tutorial system that takes kids step by step through complex math problems. The experience simulates the kind of sessions a kid would have with a real tutor, using clear explanations, diagrams, pictures, and video to explain the basic concepts underlying more complicated math problems. LearnBop identifies problem areas by pinpointing exactly which basic concept is keeping kids from understanding how to solve problems. LearnBop's engaging interface should draw kids in and keep them working toward goals. The site is set up mostly for classroom use, but there's a home option if you like what your kids are doing in class.
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What's it about?
LEARNBOP lets kids choose from over 5,000 math problems, or "bops," organized by Common Core standard. Each standard has associated bops, which are essentially multiple-choice problems, but some are more interactive. If kids can’t answer the problem, or if they answer incorrectly, they begin a process of reviewing step by step all the underlying concepts necessary to solve the target problem. Each step also contains a multiple-choice question with diagrams, explanations, videos, and/or hints that help kids choose the right answer. If they can answer the problem correctly right away, great -- they'll move on to the next one. If they answer incorrectly, or if they don't want to try, they begin a cycle of detailed tutorials that walk them through concepts they need to understand to be able to solve the problem. Data reports give a detailed picture of performance, including kids' strongest and weakest areas.
Is it any good?
This site does an admirable job of simulating a one-on-one personal math tutor. Its detailed, gentle system helps kids target and remedy their problem areas. Of course, LearnBop isn't nearly as good as an actual live tutor, but it's still helpful; if the preloaded hints aren't enough to help a kid understand, it will at least pinpoint the problem area, and a parent or a teacher can provide the extra help.
Though there's no real "fun factor," kids may be motivated enough by the empowering feeling of understanding math and the desire to avoid feeling lost and confused in class. Parents can set up a home account, and kids will certainly learn by working through the problems at home, though the site is actually directed more toward use in school as a tool for teachers to provide individualized math tutoring. LearnBop will work best as a bridge between home and school, making sure kids truly feel up to speed with what they're learning in class.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about difficulties with math concepts. Why does math sometimes seem "untouchable," "impossible," or "irrelevant"? What could make it feel more manageable?
How does step-by-step guidance help kids understand complicated math problems, and how could kids recreate this problem-solving strategy on their own?
For kids who love math
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