Miquon Book Set - 6 Workbooks + Annotations
Category Description for Miquon Math Labs
Math is not just numbers! Using Cuisenaire rods, Miquon Math Labs allows children to model numbers and operations concretely. It uses a hands-on, pattern-building, discovery method that fosters independence and creativity in problem solving. The unique page-numbering format of the program allows for flexibility - use each book straight through, covering a variety of topics, or use only the pages in each book relating to a specific topic (easily identified by the alpha-numeric page numbering system).
Instead of holding off on more difficult math topics until later grades, the Miquon approach is unique in teaching all four basic math operations in Grade 1 - plus fractions, clock arithmetic, area, volume and factoring. This builds confidence in children as they see how the basic operations are intterrelated and takes the “mystery” out of these otherwise-delayed topics. By Grade 3, children understand different base systems and graph algebraic equations!
These are not typical workbooks that test what a child already has learned, but lab sheets - teaching pages. Children are shown that, while there is only one correct solution, there are different ways to arrive at it, and it encourages them to develop their own techniques. The “standard” approach is not always the best. For example, which is easier, to teach borrowing and carrying for a problem like 400 - 298 or to teach the the child to restate the problem as 398 - 298 + 2 or 400 - 300 + 2? Techniques like these really help to develop mental dexterity in problme solving. After using Miquon with our seven children, we can attest that this program has promoted flexibility in problem solving and teaches them to find the best technique for the situation. Ours students now tackle new or difficult problems creatively, even fearlessly!
Altogether, the six student workbooks contain over 650 lab sheets. Concepts covered include: counting, odd-even, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, equalities, place value, number line and functions, factoring, squaring, simultaneous equations, graphing equations, geometric recognition, length, area, volume, series and progressions, grid and arrow games, mapping, clock arithmetic, sets, and word problems.
We recommend purchasing the Lab Sheet Annotations. This is the teacher’s guide for all six workbooks. Because the approach taken in the program is so different, it explains the reasoning behind the presentation and provides several suggestions on how to present each topic. It also provides preliminary activities for a concrete understanding of the math concepts as well as more detailed explanations for many of the workbook pages. While answers are supplied for some of the more “tricky” sheets, most worksheets are shown sans answers, so take the time to fill in the answers as you correct work for your first Miquon student - then you’ll have a completed key to use with the next!
The Miquon Math program would be an excellent start in math to move into any other program, but it would lend itself particularly well to those intending to use the Singapore approach to math in the future.
I've used this series with my older two girls, and look forward to using it again this fall with my son. It's inexpensive, which is a definite plus with four children. Also, it introduces the four basic arithmetic processes - addition, subtraction, multiplication and division - right from the start. It also offers helpful insight of how to do math in a different way than how I was taught, which sometimes helps my kids understand it better. Using the Cuisenaire rods helped my kids understand the concepts and they loved having something to manipulate. They loved the fun pages included in these too. I highly recommend this series. The lab annotations doesn't have answers to every sheet; most of them are included- the ones left out are easy enough for the parents. Also there is great information in it on presenting different concepts like the difference between 3x4 and 4x3. An inexpensive teacher's manual is a plus too! You need usually two workbooks a year, so you don't need to purchase it all at once. Also, if you decide to start using and your child isn't in first grade, it's a good idea to start from the first book. I did with my 4th grader and she just worked through the books quicker, but it wasn't too babyish for her and introduced things she hadn't covered.
I cannot recommend this program highly enough! I have used it for 7 years with many students. We all look forward to math time every day. It truly teaches math concepts instead of memorization or drill, and does it in a fun, laboratory setting. Students learn that there are more than one way to write a problem and get an answer. The cuisenaire rods are easy to use to learn the basic functions plus fractions and other math concepts. I often tell my students they are learning high school math because it introduces geometry and algebraic concepts in a way that grade school kids understand. My 7th grader who started with Miquon in 1st grade has the ability to problem solve, think outside the box and solve math mentally because of the foundation Miquon gave him. It is a little intimidating to teach at first because each lesson is not laid out for you, but if you use Lab Annotations and First Grade Diary to learn along with your children, it is a fun experience for everyone. You don't have to do each page a certain way in order to be successful (a great problem solving skill for moms to learn).
We didn't finish the orange and red books in first grade. We went pretty slowly to keep things fun and interesting. I should have done more of the enrichment suggestions in the annotations manual, but overall, we had a good year. This program is great if you think outside the box and don't feel the need to slavishly stick to a school curriculum timeline/ scope sequence chart. For 2nd grade I plan to use more manipulatives and use these worksheets as a supplement to other activity-based learning.