I recently stumbled upon an online resource that looked useful, especially since it is completely free. It’s from the people at Art of Problem Solving and this particular resource is called Alcumus. I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially since I haven’t used any other AoPS materials, and I do not have the curriculum that it is meant to complement. But after playing with it and experimenting, I am happy to say that it seems to be an incredibly helpful and useful tool.
Please note: This is NOT a teaching tool or online class to learn the content. This interactive tool is meant to compliment their textbooks and courses. If you simply need extra practice, however, this could be very valuable.
One potential downside of this program may be that it is different from your math curriculum, so it may not cover everything you need, or it may go in a different order, etc. But from what I have seen, (and considering most upper level math curriculum cover essentially the same topics) I do not believe this would cause many problems. It would still be immensely helpful if you need extra practice and immediate feedback.
In my experience, and especially considering this is free (you just have to register), there are tons of benefits. Once registered, students can choose a focus “class” (anything from Pre-Algebra to Number Theory and Probability) and then within that focus, you can choose specific types of problems to work on. There are several things that I like about the program after trying out the problems. For one, when you get an answer right, it doesn’t just say, “Correct! Great job!” and move on. There is an explanation of why and how, and it often shows more than one way to go about it (which would be helpful for students who may have solved it the hard way, or got it right by simply guessing). I also appreciate that when an answer is wrong, students are given another chance AND their first answer is shown so that they don’t make the same mistake again.
Once students are showing proficiency in a topic, the problems begin to increase in difficulty. It seems to be very responsive to students’ abilities to make sure they can be successful, and then move on when they’re ready.
There are also “quests” or challenges presented to students to make it more fun and engaging, such as “get 7 new problems correct in a row,” as well as a “hall of fame” where recent successful students are showcased.
And for the parent or teacher, there is a reports page that not only shows which topics they have worked on and passed, but exactly what problems they have attempted and whether or not the student got them right.
Overall, I was very impressed with the program, and best of all, it is completely free! Have you ever used this or had success with it? Let me know if you find it helpful!
~Math Geek Mama
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