AIMS which stands for Activities Integrating Math and Science has come up with a way for kids in grades K-9th “to develop conceptual understanding using hands on Math and Science”. We got the opportunity to pick which product we wanted to try with our kids. As I looked around their store I was excited to see what they had to offer. I kept thinking about how it all looked like a fun way to learn. Even though my son is an 11 year old 6th grader I chose the “Solve It! 3rd Problem-Solving Strategies” because it’s something I was confident could help without boring him to death (It’s hard to keep him focused and working on a task if it loses his interest). I didn’t want to use anything too advanced for him because as I mentioned above he needs to develop more in his problem solving skills. In case you were wondering they do have the “Solve It! Problem-Solving Strategies” in different levels from K-5.
Solve It! 3rd Problem-Solving Strategies is a 240 page softback workbook. The cost of this workbook is $24.95. Inside you’ll find the 9 problem solving strategies that they focus on in the activities as well as a guide or important things the teacher needs to know before beginning each lesson. Each of the 9 strategies are broken down, defined, and then reinforced through hands-on activities that use the strategy to solve problems. Solve It! 3rd has 29 activities. The great thing I liked about the activities is that you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to print out neat and straight copies of the worksheets. The book comes with a CD of all the worksheets (listed in alphabetical order) of each lesson in PDF format. The CD is stored in the back of the book in a clear pocket.
The lessons also has extension (practice) problems in the back of the book in which students must decide which problem-solving strategy to use. These can be creatively used any time of your choosing as a means to further discuss and review the nine strategies. Here is a breakdown of the types of things “Solve It! 3rd Problem-Solving Strategies” addresses:
• using manipulatives,
• writing a number sentence,
• drawing out the problem,
• guesses and checking,
• organizing the information,
• looking for patterns,
• using logical thinking,
• working backwards, and
• wishing for an easier problem.
One thing you should know is most activities do require a group of students to complete (product is geared towards students in a school setting). It is set up to get them “working in groups and use logical thinking to decipher clues and crack number codes”. The purpose is to “allow the learners to apply and expand their number, measurement, geometry, data organization, and algebra skills”. If you are a homeschooler with only one child it will require a little creativity on your part to make this adaptable. With me having only one child I have had to "pretend” to be the other student at times. Yes I make it fair to not discourage him.
The purchase of this book alone is not all that’s needed to complete these lessons. Other things you will need are some cardstock (white and colored), a printer (or access to one), crayons or colored pencils, scissors, and glue sticks. Other unique things needed are hands-on manipulatives (some are shown at the bottom of this page), toothpicks, paper clips, grid paper, a yard stick, ect. Here are pictures of an assignment my son did called “Celebrating Combinations”.
In this he had to use the different hats, shirts, and shoes (manipulatives) that were provided in the lesson to see how many different looks he could come up with for the Elf. I loved seeing him get pretty creative with his drawings. This is my son answering the questions about his findings.
So far he likes Solve It! He’s happy to get to the days lesson each day. I think the way it’s set up with the pictures and using the manipulatives helps him out a lot. He’s not frustrated and to the point of crying to figure out the answers to the problems. We haven’t gotten very far in the workbook but I do plan on letting him continue to work through each lesson since he likes this so much.
To learn more about AIMS you can read their resource page. There’s also an option where you can sign up to get free activities, puzzles, and specials sent to your email by checking out this page. If you enjoy the option of downloading your products, they also sell some of their material in e-book form. For more of a visual look into their program, stop by and check out their youtube page.
You can read more reviews from my crew mates at the TOS Crew blog.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions in this review are entirely my own. I was not paid to write this but received this book free of charge to review and give my honest opinion.