INTRODUCTION TO MORTENSEN MATH
The strength of the Mortensen Math program is that rather than having students learn mathematics by memorizing the mechanical rules and processes to get the right answers they are taught to visualize the concepts of math by using tactile math blocks. This approach allows students to finally see with what they have been trying to memorize all along. Students will often discover the more abstract rules and processes on their own, internalizing them and truly understanding them, and will want to learn more. Mathematics becomes simple and easy to understand allowing young children to solve seemingly complex mathematical problems as they play with the colorful blocks.
In this program there are five strands of mathematics; Algebra, Arithmetic, Calculus, Measurement, and Problem Solving. There are three levels of Arithmetic, four levels of Algebra, Measurement, and Problem Solving, and five levels of Differential Calculus. Each level has ten booklets per strand. The beginning books are so simple that the prerequisite for beginning the program is being able to count to nine.
All the strands of Mortensen Math deal with the exercise of counting. The problems are set up visually and the student counts to find the answer. It is important that students use the math blocks to build the problems in order to secure the visual concepts in their mind. One might be inclined to use the illustrations in the workbooks only but if this is done the concepts will not be internalized and will be more easily forgotten. Each strand reinforces the concepts being covered in another strand. It is therefore recommended that the student work in all the strands simultaneously rather than going through an entire strand on its own.
Mortensen Math is a superb supplement to any curriculum as it can clarify the concepts being taught. Those who have already learned math the traditional way are encouraged to go through the entire Mortensen Math program to gain better understanding of the concepts behind the processes already learned. The program focuses on mastering math skills rather than fitting into a graded classroom setting. However, the program content extends to the high school and college level.
All students are encouraged to start at Level 1 of each strand for it is here that the foundation is set for the more difficult problems in the higher levels. Older students may progress more quickly through the first level. Younger students are encouraged to work all the problems.
Parents are encouraged to go through the program with their children, for they too for will learn mathematics in a way not learned before, and it is very enjoyable to share that learning with one’s children.