Taking mathematics to the next level, this interesting series requires students to apply higher-level thinking to open-ended questions. Unlike most math books that focus on computation and arriving at a single, correct answer, this series focuses on the strategy, process, and description of solving math problems.
Each level of Right Response is divided into four sections. A short, "Preparing for Open-Ended Questions" section introduces students to writing in math as a means to improve their thinking about a problem. For these questions, they have to chose between multiple acceptable answers or arrive at one of many possible answers themselves. Then they must justify, in writing, why they chose as they did. This requires much more contemplation and analysis than a typical math question. For example, the very first question in the Level A book shows four fractions: a. ½, b. 2/8, c. 3/7, and d. 9/16. Students are asked to study these, decide which one is different in some way (circle it), then write an explanation of how it is different from the rest. While some are better choices for "most different", justification can be made for any selection. The second question in this section has multiple possibilities as well, though it has students arrive at answers based on parameters rather than providing choices. The course begins in earnest with "You Be the Judge." In this chapter, students answer open-ended questions then compare them to responses written by other students. (In the classroom, students work in groups and refine a group response before comparing it to the provided student answers. In a home school, you would skip this step or perhaps discuss and help your student refine his response before the comparison phase.) Evaluating modeled responses helps students tighten their own process of putting a strategy and thought process into words. In the next chapter, "You Be the Teacher," students apply rubrics (scoring guides) to student answers including their own. For each problem, students write their own response first. A scoring rubric, with point values accorded based on specific criteria, is provided in the appendix. Students analyze the model answers against the rubric, "grading" each. This helps to demonstrate how teachers score answers and how this method provides consistency in grading. Students learn to be clear, thorough, and concise in their own answers. Finally, in the "You Be... Yourself" chapter, students apply what they've learned in the preceding sections. Whereas the last two sections had one question per NCTM strand (Numbers and Operations, Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, Data Analysis), this final section has multiple questions per strand. Now students practice answering questions and grading their own answers against a provided rubric. This allows for self-critique and fine-tuning until they are satisfied with their ability to not only solve a more involved word problem, but concisely and accurately explain how they arrived at their solution.
This kind of practice will be invaluable, not only in math, but in other subjects and throughout life. Anytime your child has to impart instructions or train another person at a job, he/she will be better equipped for having experienced this kind of honing. And I guarantee that the recipient of his/her instruction will also appreciate having clear, concise, and accurate information to follow. This is truly a unique program that should produce tangible and lasting benefits for your child.
Teacher books show all student pages and contain teaching instructions and solutions. Student books contain student worksheets and scoring rubrics. Neither is reproducible.