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TOS Crew Review of Area Formulas for Parallelograms, Triangles, & Trapezoids (from AIMS Educational Foundation)

AIMS Educational Foundation is a non-profit foundation begun in 1981 by a group of 80 elementary and middle school teachers who desired to provide students with a solid conceptual understanding of math and science. Through a wide variety of ever-expanding books and activities, research and conferences, AIMS is making an impact in the math and science world for the betterment of students in all learning environments.

AIMS Educational Foundation made several different products available to members of the TOS Crew to review - I received a book entitled "Area Formulas for Parallelograms, Triangles, & Trapezoids". It's an 80-page softcover book the comes with a CD containing printable student pages, videos, and the comics & animations that set this book apart as a unique way to learn some basic Geometry. It is aimed at grades 6-8, but I think it could be adapted for use with younger or older children. I encourage you to be sure and check it all the reviews posted by TOS Crew members ~ you can find those HERE.

I used the book "Area Formulas for Parallelograms, Triangles, & Trapezoids" with my daughters who are in 6th and 8th grade. Using the book's 5 components for teaching each unit, my girls explored basic geometry with Investigations, Comics, Animation & Video, Problem Solving, and Assessments. Each of these components is explained on the book's Welcome page. I found the Investigations to be very useful for kinesthetic learners, providing a hands-on aspect that they need. The Comics were fun and educational at the same time. I would say I'm torn on my opinion of the Animation & Video component - this is my 14th year of homeschooling, and I'm a little biased about how I teach certain topics. I like my method of finding area over the AIMS method, but I will admit that may be my own stick-in-the-mud mentality rather than an issue with the curriculum itself. Problem Solving was my favorite part of each unit - the chance to put into practice what was learned! Finally, the Assessments are key for math and science learning; we must assess on some level or we don't really know if the student has grasped the concept.

Each unit opens with a "Big Idea" ( I LOVE this - seeing the entire unit's purpose explained on one page) and the work for each day is clearly laid out. All the teacher needs to do is follow each day's directions and the lessons fall neatly into place. Students work to develop formulas for areas of parallelograms, triangles and trapezoids by cutting out shapes and manipulating them, using geoboards and geobands for "hands-on" learning, and in general trying to discover what will work when finding the area of a given shape. It's a unique way of learning, I must admit. I am the type who teaches a formula, and then expects the student to use said formula to find the area of each shape. The idea of "playing around" with shapes to find the reason behind the formula is not my preferred teaching style, but I can see how it would be a huge help to certain students.

Since my kids have never really practiced math using the "experimental" method, I think they were a little unsure about this curriculum. They wanted to get right to work using the formulas, so we actually did a week's worth of lessons at one time. That way they were able to apply what they had learned right away, and they could see the direct result of the experimenting they had just done. It wasn't difficult to adapt the lessons to suit our homeschool needs, so I am going to label "Area Formulas for Parallelograms, Triangles, & Trapezoids" as Highly Homeschool Friendly . Of course, that might not work for all students but that is one of the things that makes this a quality resource ~ you really can adapt it to your child's needs.

My husband chimed in to offer his opinion of the AIMS resource our family reviewed. He felt the "big picture first" to "small picture" method of teaching used in this book was right up his alley. He is the youth pastor at our church, and often utilizes this method in his teaching. He is also in management within the aircraft industry and his ability to have a "big picture" view of the Quality Assurance process helps him keep his team moving in the same direction day in and day out. He really liked this product based on it's ability to not throw out specific details and information prior to revealing the purpose behind the specifics.

AIMS grants permission to the purchaser of "Area Formulas for Parallelograms, Triangles, & Trapezoids" to photocopy up to 220 copies of any portion of the text for educational use, or for use in an educator workshop.

At the website you can download free math puzzles, sign up for monthly E-Activities (for a nominal fee), shop for science and math materials, and explore their literature links. Don't forget to check out their Clearance section, too! Visit to see for yourself!

The book "Area Formulas for Parallelograms, Triangles, & Trapezoids" is available for $9.95, and this is the current price for all their math curriculum books. Other subject matter is available at a variety of prices, all of them within reason.

As always, I received this product at no cost to myself for review purposes.

Thanks for reading this TOS Crew product review!

Day 114 done :)

Jan L. Burt


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