TITLE: Scott Foresman Math 3rd Grade
GRADE LEVEL: 3rd Grade
PREREQUISITES: Second grade math
REQUIRED MATERIALS: Student book, Manipulatives, Teacher materials of choice
The Scott Foresman approach to math is bright and colorful and includes many “connections” to other subjects, in what some term the new math approach. There are many frequent opportunities for quick assessment of student progress, like the “Instant Check System: Diagnosing Readiness” or the “Diagnostic Checkpoints.” Additional comprehensive review sections and test preparation pages help students retain concepts and do well on tests.
The “connections” to other subjects consist of things like frequent short stories or poems to read. There are pages that include historical or nature trivia and combined with a few word problems built on that the given theme. There are also occasional instructions inviting students to “write a math story.”
There are many ancillary materials teachers can choose from. There are books that can be used either as reproducible masters or as workbooks (Practice Masters book/workbook or Enrichment Masters book/workbook). There is an Assessment Sourcebook, a Teaching Tool Masters book, and an Answer Key. Further resources available to assist and support learning are Every Student Learns and the Home-School Connection book.
STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
The Scott Foresman 3rd grade math certainly has strong points in the fun and exciting looks category. The pages are full of colorful photographs and illustrations. And the students probably enjoy reading the rhymes and even the little trivia things. For teachers, it can be a real strong point to have plenty of ancillary materials to choose from for supplementing where needed.
Weak points in the curriculum are the fact that it seems on the whole to be a rather distracting format for kids to learn math. The attractive pictures and bright primary colors are things that some indicators show may hinder concentration versus simpler textbook layouts. The mixing in of other unrelated subjects, such as history or geography or reading doesn’t exactly help.
The Scott Foresman curriculum fosters the use of “helps” such as illustrations to count from perhaps a bit later than other curriculums. Reliance on such things does not develop automaticity of skill or mathematical thought on the part of the student. A final weakness is that in my judgment it appears that supplementation from the ancillary materials will definitely be necessary on a regular basis to give students enough practice with each new concept
TOPICS AND METHODOLOGY
The following topics are listed in the table of contents of the 3rd grade math:
Place Value and Money; Addition and Subtraction Number Sense; Adding and Subtracting; Time, Data, and Graphs; Multiplication Concepts and Facts; More Multiplication Facts; Division Concepts and Facts; Geometry and Measurement; Fractions and Measurement; Decimals and Measurement; Multiplying and Dividing Greater Numbers; Measurement and Probability.
The methodology appears to be designed to encourage creativity and fun in math. It is also designed to get students to think about the “why” arithmetic works; alongside of the “how” arithmetic works.
STANDARDIZED TEST PREPARATION
Scott Foresman math should match state standards for 3rd grade math. The book includes special test preparation sections to teach students test taking skills.
The teacher requirements are not huge, compared to other Pearson publications, which sometimes require seminars to be held to teach teachers how to use them. Scott Foresman math, Diamond Edition seems to be more straightforward, although the number of teacher manuals and ancillaries can seem daunting at first.
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