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LeapFrog: Math Circus
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One of the problems small children have is that they memorize numbers and can "count" but they don't associate the numbers with an actual quantity. This video uses small white mobile cubes called "quidgets" to teach them that numbers `correspond' to a certain number of objects.
My kids are pretty engrossed by this video and I am overjoyed that I can now give my four-year-old simple hand problems and she can solve them.
--Numbers are produced: "0 to 10".
--Numbers are associated with corresponding numbers of quidgets, coins, fingers, etc.
For example, no quidgets, then one quidget. The white box gets a number 1 which jumps onto it and stays.
Two quidgets stack vertically... the number one jumps off and the 2 jumps on and so forth.
--A song with 1 quidget, then 1 coin, then 1 finger and a 1 "digit" color worm... and so on until there are 10 quidgets, 10 coins, 10 fingers and a 10 segmented worm. The quidgets are piled vertically, and the worm grows horizontally until it is 10 units long: all numbers are shown in their worm segment.
--Then to the circus.
--Review of counting with quidgets stacking vertically.
--Using a high wire act with two swings, the quidget's do addition and then subtraction.
Two quidgets, for example, swing across and are joined by another quidget from the other swing. The numbers 2 and 1 drop off and the number 3 sticks itself to the stack of three quidgets. The reverse is done for subtraction.
--At the end, stacks of ten quidgets are flung into the ring until their are ten stacks of them demonstrating how we can go from 10 to 100 by ten's.
This video is part of the LeapFrog DVD series, which are the best products LeapFrog has ever released. Other highly recommended videos in the series are the first three phonics videos:
The Letter Factory teaches children the names and sounds of all the letters in the alphabet. The vowels are only given their short sounds at this point, but that is ok for this level of learning.
The Talking Words Factory teaches children how to put letters and their sounds together to make simple words, mostly with the consonant-vowel-consonant pattern and a few consonant blends.
The Word Caper movie goes on to introduce silent E, long vowel sounds, and vowel-vowel combinations.
This video series is highly recommended.
PS REMEMBER - Look at the title of the movies before purchasing.Read more ›
Advertised as beginning math, this one is mixed up in its focus, spending quite a bit of time on recognizing the numbers from 0 to 10 (especially zero) and relating them to “quidgets”, then quickly jumping to addition and subtraction without sufficient explanation or introduction of the concepts. Starting with simple counting, by the end of the 35 minutes, they’re showing us ten times tables up to one hundred.
Very young children will probably like the repetitive cowboy “numbers” song, and may even stick around for the “circus” acts and accompanying slapstick routines, but the concepts advance too quickly for this age group. Kids who already know their numbers won’t learn anything new from the beginning of the presentation, but then again, they probably won’t learn anything from the rest of it either.
Clearly one should not expect kids to learn math in 35 minutes, which makes you wonder what they were thinking when they made this one. A more sensible approach would be to have different DVDs for each level, as they did in the reading series, so that they could spend more time going into the nitty-gritty, and making it fun.
This one is a rush job, and was not properly thought out for the intended audience. Definitely not a tool you should count on to introduce your kids to math.
Amanda Richards, May 4, 2006
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