Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Be a Top Dog, Drill With Mad Dog Math - A TOS Review

Mad Dog Math
4562 Ocana Avenue
Lakewood, CA 90713
Phone (562) 533-5772

Age Range -  K-5th Grade


   

As a member of the TOS Review Crew I received a free trial download of the Mad Dog Math software to use with my children for several weeks in order to provide an honest review of the program.  Observations, suggestions and comments are my own.  I am not obligated to provide a positive review.  Keep reading for more information about this supplemental math drill software.


Mad Dog Math is intended to be a supplement to any math curriculum, whether classroom or at home.  The program is available in printed form and CD-ROM for Windows PC.  (This one is not for Macintosh.)  (Mad Dog Math Online is coming soon according to their website.) 

Can your children recite basic math facts from memory, without hesitation?  This math drill program allows children to master addition, subtraction, multiplication and division with quick daily drills.  All that is needed to get started is a one-time purchase of a binder or CD-ROM - both are exactly the same.  The program is designed to build a child's confidence with "bite-size" pieces of the basic math facts mastered in short 7-10 minute daily practice sessions.  Competition against self, through decreasing time allowed for drill completion, builds speed and self-confidence for your children.

I think we all know that memorization of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts is important to make more advanced math much easier and quicker to learn.   However, we don't always push our children to remember these facts for quick and easy reference.  Julie Kotoff, the creator of Mad Dog Math, has been an educator for 30 years and now works as an educational consultant.  She created Mad Dog Math as a fun and challenging way to help students commit these facts to memory.  Her Mad Dog Math program is named after her beloved Ruff, a Golden Retriever, whom she lost in 2004.  Although he was not a “mad dog”, he lives on through the Mad Dog Math program.


Mad Dog Math breaks the basic facts down into bite-sized pieces (fact families).  Your child advances through timed worksheets, at his own pace.  When he passes, he moves on to the next sheet, building his confidence and speed along the way.  There are three levels and a challenge level to work through.  While the first two levels have worksheets with 20 problems, the third and challenge levels contain 24 problems per worksheet.  When using the timed mode, you set the timer to begin at two minute completion, then progressing to one minute completion and finally to 30 second completion.  As these levels are accomplished your child earns Club stickers.  After completion of a level your child is a "Math Top Dog" and moves on to the next level.


Mad Dog Math is available in binder-form (for paper and pencil) or CD-ROM.  In the program you'll find a program overview, suggestions for a daily routine and ideas for when your child gets "stuck".  You'll also find a Progress Chart where your child keeps track of his own progress. 


There are also Mad Dog Math aids available -- self-correcting flashcards and a Mad Dog Math timer.  There are even Certificates that can be presented to your child on completion.

The best part, Mad Dog Math practice takes as little as 5-10 minutes a day so there is always time to fit it into your day.  (Of course, if you have a child that thrives on drills, keep on going!)



This is a good, no-frills way to get the basics memorized.  My daughter, age 14, helped me by using the program on and off over the past few weeks.  She was not motivated by the Club stickers.  She also does not do as well when she knows she's being timed - so much for self competition.  (If you prefer, a No Limit option allows for no timer, but your child may still track their progress.)  She did say that the program wasn't that bad.  She also thought that younger kids would enjoy the program more.  From the mom/teacher perspective, her speed did improve as she progressed - hurray! 

I think the suggested age range is about right.  The drills are definitely helpful in memorizing the math facts from 0-18. 

The software was easy to download.  Depending on the age of your child, children can move through this fairly independently.

I wish this had a monthly pricing option, but the 1 year license isn't terribly expensive.  I am also glad I'm a PC so that software was an option.  I would really like to check out Mad Dog Math Online when that is available.

Currently this is only available for Windows PC. Although we used a software download, the binder is said to be exactly the same material -- allowing Mac users to still use the materials. There is not a limit of how many children can use the software.  The daily practice is short and easily fits into most schedules.

There is not a separate parent page to check your child's progress. You must log in under your child's name to check the worksheet progress chart.

This is quite easy to use, and children can learn at their own pace.  For some children the club stickers and certificates could be a great incentive.  For children who stress while being timed, drills may be done without the timer.

The suggested age range is K-5th grade, but the program can also strengthen the skills of older children who have not previously committed the basic math facts to memory--a chance to catch up and speed up before moving on to fractions, decimals, algebra and other higher math.

***Definitely a thumbs-up here, but not so much for the 14 year old.   
   

One Year License  $19.99
Two Year License  $29.99
Perpetual License   $39.99

*For classroom and school district license fees visit the Mad Dog Math website.
    
   

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