Tuesday, January 18, 2011

MEP Math and Math Mammoth

I was asked elsewhere about "what's that math program you use?" and "how do you use it?" and "you should blog about it."   Generally, I feel like such a neophyte that I'm loathe to tell others what or how I do something, but since I was asked ...

For our main math program we use the Mathematics Enhancement Programme (or MEP).  MEP is a British "maths" curriculum based on a Hungarian math program.  It is available as free PDF downloads for worksheets, lesson plans, Posters, and copymasters. I believe there is also a textbook available for purchase, but it seems pretty unnecessary. This year we are using Year 1 for M-girl and N-boy and "Reception" for R-girl.  I'll link to the Year 1 pages as that is what I'm familiar with, but I think most years are set up similarly, the exception being no separate worksheets for Reception (which is PreK).

When I first started, all I downloaded were the worksheets.  This was a *mistake*!  While the worksheets are generally very straightforward in instruction, they do not hold the meat of the program.  The lesson plans have the mental math, oral story problems, logic problems, skip counting, and answers to problems in the Practice Book if you're stuck.

Year 1 is divided into 6 "sections."  Here is the first section of Practice Book 1A.  This is the worksheets your student will complete.  If they aren't yet writing small enough for the boxes, some of the problems have "Copymasters" available.  These are meant to be slides for an overhead projector, but my kids like writing on them, so I print.  You definitely want the Lesson Plans, this is where all the mental math, the fun "hands on" portions, and explanations for anything in the Practice Book will be found.  You may also want to print the posters if you're doing Year 1 or 2.  I decided to print them after looking them up so often, but you definitely could simply use your monitor.   

I'm going to suggest you open the PDFs in separate tabs.  Open Practice Book page 8 (which in the teacher guide is noted as PBY1A page 8).  In the copymasters, go to the page that says LP8/6 in the bottom right hand corner (this means Lesson Plan 8/Step 6).  And Lesson Plan 8 in the Lesson Plan book. 
So, I look at the lesson plan, Activity 1 and think, hm, I didn't prepare a bag with stuff in it, we'll skip that.

Activity 2, making sets.  I can do that.  I find a few manipulatives and we make sets for a couple minutes.

Activity 3 ... hmmm ... Number strips.  Lets use Cuisenaire Rods and do that for a few minutes.  Or you can be prepared with the number strips in the copymasters.

Activity 4, Oh, yeah ... pull out the poster or pull it up on the monitor.  Ask the questions in the lesson plan and maybe have a short discussion.

Activity 5, "Interlude" ... this is in every lesson, and I skip over it every lesson ...

Activity 6, Oh, we're finally using the Practice Book! And it isn't the Lesson 8 Practice Book page, but some handwriting pages.  We usually do some of these, but skip good parts of it too.

Activity 7, Choose from the Questions 1-4 in the Practice book.  Oh, well, let's do them all!  Here is the copymaster for one of the questions.

And, that's usually how it goes here :)  Understanding the shorthand used in the books helps a great deal. 

Right now, we use Math Mammoth as a supplement and independent work  M-girl and N-boy each have a folder daily of work they can work on while I'm working individually with their sibling.  M-girl has two pages and N-boy has one page.  They work on their Math Mammoth page(s) and I review the pages with them briefly before lunch. 


  1. Have you read Ruth Beechick's An Easy Start in Arithmetic? This method sounds a lot like what she recommends, though it seems they compress it a bit.

  2. I haven't read it. I only have 1 Beechick book (the teaching K-3 one) but haven't even read it.

    Did this help you? Did it make sense? We love MEP so far. The children are challenged and find it interesting. I like that it is essentially free. Jason likes all the puzzles in it. Yay!

  3. The Three R's is a bind-up of the one I mentioned plus the one on reading and writing -- it's well worth looking into. I can't believe I didn't read it when I was first starting out and really regret it. I'd read Susan Schaeffer Macauley's For the Children's Sake and loved what she said but didn't know how to put it into practice -- Beechick's books would have described that part of it for me.

    And yes, this is helpful -- I'm really going to look into this. I've been using Rod and Staff's level one and it's working well for my 10yos but the workbooks are moving too fast for my 8yod -- they jump right into the abstract mode, and she needs more experience with the mental mode. That is, she's fine with manipulatives and does pretty well at the level of figuring things out in her head (she's pretty sophisticated about keeping scores in card games and so forth) but she's starting to get bogged down with all the writing and solving of equations in the workbook.

    I'll let you know how it goes.

  4. Kelly, if you subbed, someone rec'd this site as another intro. There's some good stuff there too.

  5. It is always good to see how others use MEP. We love it in our home!

  6. Nice! I love hearing what programs others use.


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