A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mathwords is a math dictionary organized in three ways that gives kids formal definitions of math terms with little to no elaboration, sparse or indiscernable examples, and dynamic, non-kid level ads (for stuff you've been looking at online, from Pottery Barn to real estate).
What's it about?
Mathwords defines about 2000 mathematic terms plus a few from physics, finance, and modeling. There are four ways to search: A to Z, full list, subject areas, and Google-powered web search. Most definitions contain multiple references to other terms plus either diagrams or examples, but only a few have textual explanations, for example, arctan. About 20 terms are accompanied by a dynamic diagram from McGraw-Hill's Geometer's Sketchpad. About 36 terms populate a real-world application list.
Is it any good?
Mathwords's accurate definitions could be useful for advanced students who just need a nudge to remember a particular aspect of a term, but kids needing a bit more hand holding who will likely be stymied. Definitions are overly concise, contain a plethora of references, and assume basic foundational understandings. For instance, the entry for three dimensional space never uses the terms height, width, or depth though it does refer to three-dimensional coordinates. Textual explanations are rare and more attention is paid to "formal" meanings than making the material clear, especially to kids who are already having a hard time. And most examples, if present, are actually diagram images pixelated beyond recognition.
About twenty terms are accompanied by a cool JavaSketchPad, QuickTime, or LiveGraphics3D-based dynamic diagram from McGraw-Hill's Geometer's Sketchpad, but even these lack sufficient labels and took nearly 5 minutes to load. Overall, accessibility is a problem for the kids who need this site the most.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Subjects: Math: algebra, calculus, equations, functions, geometry, graphing, measurement, numbers, probability, statistics
- Skills: Self-Direction: academic development
Thinking & Reasoning: asking questions, memorization, part-whole relationships
- Genre: Educational
- Pricing structure: Free
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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