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What is "Insights into Math Concepts"?

"Insights into Math Concepts" is the math program published by Conceptual Learning Materials. As the name implies, it focuses on concepts rather than mechanics and drill.

Is "Insights into Math Concepts" a complete program?

While teachers had no problem finding materials to help children memorize math facts and practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems, they had difficulty finding materials to help children discover underlying math concepts. "Insights" was created to fulfill this need. However, children still need to practice their facts and operations.

How do I know what level applies?

Materials span multiple levels. Medium blue in the Scope and Sequence chart indicates that the skill is typical for these particular grade levels. However, the skill is frequently presented to younger children who have access to manipulatives or who would benefit from a challenge. Of course, the skill is also needed by older children who have not yet mastered it.

In what formats do cardstock materials come?

Formats include workpages with cutouts; two and three-way matching cards; number lines and labels; sequencing cards; manipulatives, and free-response task cards.

What are the advantages of cardstock materials?

  • Cardstock materials are very popular with the children. They are appealing because they are colorful and because they come in many formats.
  • Cardstock materials can be used over and over again, by either a single child or by different children.
  • When organized in a classroom, resource center, or learning environment, it is easy for the child to access the materials independently.

Why use materials that are cut and manipulated?

  • Children love these materials and are much more excited about using them.
  • Children's ability to reason usually precedes their ability or inclination to write. Therefore concepts can be presented at an earlier age in more enjoyable formats.
  • Manipulative cardstock is less threatening than written work. Incorrect answers can merely be rearranged; writing, erasing and correcting is much more frustrating.

What student preparation is needed?

Children must be shown how to be careful in their use and in their storage. We recommend that work be done in a confined space, either on a table or on a floor mat. After it is checked, it should be put in the appropriate container and stored properly .

What teacher preparation is required for cardstock materials?

  • If many different children are expected to use the material, lamination is recommended.
  • Much of the cardstock material should be cut and organized in hardware drawers, sorters, or envelopes. In all these instances, each piece has an identifying code. Suggestions and organization labels are included.
  • Taskcards require little or no cutting and should be placed in sorters or files for the children to access.

How are the answers for various exercises checked?

Except for a few of the "early math materials" for Kindergarten and first grade, each packet of  materials includes a "paper set" of answers. These may be placed in a separate binder for the student or teacher to access.

What do the colors mean?

Some colors are part of the product name; Golden Beads (blue) and Order (pink) are examples. In these cases, the colors have significance. Blue is used for work with two-digit numbers, pink is for work with three-digits, and green is for four-digit work. Gold is for tens. Colors that are not part of the product name have been selected for their appeal to the children but have no special significance

What if cardstock cutouts are impractical in the student's learning environment?

Taskcards require little or no cutting. Blackline masters may be used to produce worksheets on which the student records his or her answers. It is important to note that taskcards and blacklines are more abstract than "cut" material because they require free-response answers.

What are blackline masters?

Blackline masters are used to make worksheets on which each child records his or her answers. In other words, they provide a "workbook format" that always requires a free-response answer. Whereas blacklines of taskcards are identical to the cardstock version, blacklines of any cut materials are variations that require written answers rather than manipulation.

When are blacklines recommended?

Blacklines include exactly the same problems as their cardstock counterpart. However, certain values are omitted, and the student is required to "write them in." Blacklines are appropriate as a follow-up to cardstock, as a diagnostic tool, homework problems, review, or an abstract classroom exercise. Blacklines are also useful when cutting and organization of cardstock materials are not practical. They are also appropriate in whole group instruction since the entire group is working on the same page.

May "Insights into Math Concepts" be photocopied and shared?

Cardstock materials may not be photocopied. Blackline materials include copyright for a single site. In other words, they may be copied for use within one school, learning center, or home.

What are meant by the attributes "basic skill", "enrichment", and "support"?

"Basic skills" such as fraction concepts are in most curricula and are prerequisites to other basic skills. "Enrichment" such as Roman Numerals refers to optional skills not required by many programs. Of course, a younger student that undertakes any skill before it is "on level" is "enriched" by doing challenging work. "Support" refers to supplementary aids that may be useful to some classrooms, but are not needed by others.

What are discounted sets?

Discounted sets reflect a 15% discount when purchasing all the materials within a given level on the Scope and Sequence Chart.

What have children achieved as a result of the program?

  • A high percentage of children have gone on to excel in secondary and university math programs. A significant number have been highly successful in technical professions.
  • Students with "math phobia" and limited backgrounds have gained a high level of confidence and achieved success in subsequent math programs.