What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Thinking Blocks is a clever and faithful representation of the Singapore Math method, which uses blocks as visual tools to model word problems. With an exclusively instructive approach, this learning site offers plenty of practice and guidance for solving sometimes complicated math problems.
What's it about?
Kids choose from four math topics -- addition, multiplication, fractions, and ratios -- and then a subtopic, such as adding two quantities. After reading a short word problem, kids get guidance to construct a model with blocks, label the blocks, assign numbers to each block, and finally solve the problem. Kids can see videos demonstrating each subtopic and can choose to track their progress and print a certificate of completion. The modeling tool allows kids to use preloaded word problems or write their own and then design their own block model from start to finish.
Is it any good?
THINKING BLOCKS uses a unique approach to representing sometimes complicated math concepts. The exercises force kids to think about each problem in a systematic step-by-step way, and videos and well-positioned hints help kids at each step (except when it's time to finally solve the problem, at which point the limited guidance is good but available only after kids enter an incorrect answer).
The site is clearly educational, but that's also its downfall. The alternative way to represent math might help some kids understand math better, especially if they're strong visual learners. Coming to understand something that was previously difficult can be rewarding in and of itself; however, interacting with the site feels like more work than fun, which might turn kids off.
Families can talk about...
Discuss how using the blocks to represent math problems can change the way your kids think about math.
Help your kids create their own word problems to solve.