Thursday, June 6, 2013

REVIEW: Make It Real Learning (MIRL) Series by Math Mammoth

My kids got to try out some Make It Real Learning (MIRL) workbooks by Math Mammoth.  My 13-year old son worked with Linear Functions I & Linear Functions II, and my 8-year old daughter worked with States by the Numbers (Virginia).



The Make It Real Learning series of workbooks by Math Mammoth is designed for grades 3-12.  It’s intended to help your students see the real life application for a whole host of math concepts.  Each workbook focuses on a specific range of math topics, covering everything from basic math to calculus and everything in between!

Each book describes various situations and starts out with simple applications of the math concepts to those situations.  Then the problems become increasingly more challenging as students practice real problem solving skills.  All of the situations use real data, so it’s easy for students to see why they need to know these skills for their everyday lives.  Each lesson can be completed in one or two sessions.

However, these workbooks do NOT contain any actual instruction or explanation of math concepts.  They are intended only for practice of concepts already learned.

Hayden just wrapped up 8th grade and completed Algebra I, so I had him work on Linear Functions I & II, which cover Algebra I and Algebra II level equations. 


Linear Functions I includes these topics:

  • cell phone plansMake It Real Learning Linear Functions I workbook
  • college graduate statistics
  • converting temperatures
  • government nutrition program
  • longer life spans
  • making money
  • Yahoo! music downloads

You can download a free sample of Linear Equations 1 here.


Linear Functions II includes these topics:

  • counting carbohydratesMake It Real Learning Linear Functions I workbook
  • investing in entertainment
  • investing in fast food
  • owning part of a clothing company
  • selling nuts
  • travel options
  • using resources wisely

You can download a free sample of Linear Functions 2 here.

These workbooks are available in downloadable .pdf format for $4.99 each. 


Haylee just wrapped up 3rd grade and completed 4th grade math.  She’s about to begin a Virginia State History study, so I had her work on States by the Numbers for Virginia, which uses real life statistics on the state of Virginia to work out problems.  It can be used for grades 3-7, but is recommended for grades 4-6.

States by the Numbers workbooks have 38 pages and 80 topics, including:

  • place valueMake It Real Learning Arithmetic workbook
  • rounding
  • estimation
  • understanding fractions and percents

You can download a free sample of States by the Numbers for North Dakota here.

The States by the Numbers workbooks are available in downloadable .pdf format for $2.99 each.




These prDSCF0576oducts are all downloadable content, so the first thing you need to do once you have the files is to print them out if you want to have a hard copy to write on.  I printed them, punched them, and bound them with laminated covers using plastic comb binding.  However, there is an alternative way to use these.  The files are such that you can type write your answers write into the text, so it is possible to use them without actually printing them at all.  We prefer hard copies, though, so we printed them out.

Hayden (13) really struggled getting through Algebra I, and he took it twice over the last two years.  One thing he said to me repeatedly throughout his difficulties was that he couldn’t see how he would ever use algebra concepts in real life.  So when I was given the opportunity to review this product, I jumped at the chance to be able to show him just that!  True to its purpose, this product truly did show him the practical application of algebra in his everyday life.  Topics like comparing cell phone plans, buying fast food, and making money were ones to which he cDSCF0577ould relate. 

Right off, he noticed the first few questions were fairly simple, but then became progressively more difficult and required deeper thinking.  He said the questions were clear and easy to understand, and he enjoyed the scenarios provided.  He reluctantly admitted that algebra does apply to daily life situations.  Mission accomplished!

Haylee tried out sampling of various types of problems in the States by the Numbers book, and she said it wasn’t too hard for her to do on her own.  She thought it was kind of a fun way to practice a variety of math skills while learning more about her state simultaneously.  She thought it was neat that the statistics on Virginia provided in the book were all real data.  We both thought it was a neat way to supplement our Virginia state history studies.  We plan to continue the book, doing a little each day until we complete it, as we study more about Virginia.

If you were doing a longer study on the fifty states, I can see how getting the whole 50-state set would be a neat supplement.  Math Mammoth does offer a substantial discount on the complete set of 50 States by the Numbers workbooks for just $19.99.  That’s just 40 cents per state!

Solutions are included in the back of each book, so checking answers is quick and easy, too.  It’s simple enough to print them and store them separately from the problems so they are safely in the teacher’s hands, or you can leave them at the back of the workbook so the student can self-check their answers…your choice.

At just a few dollars per book in the Make It Real Learning series, this is content that is surprisingly affordable and very worthwhile.  Definitely take a moment to give it a second look if you want to bring your math teaching to a new level of practicality for your students!

Take a look at what other Crew members had to say about this and other products from Math Mammoth by clicking the banner below.