This year we are working through the third stage of the KS3 Mastering Mathematics series from Hodder Education, which includes using a text book and a practice book. It is the first time we have used this range and I have already written about it in the Starting Year 9 Maths resource post and the Maths Books Year 9 Update post but I wanted to write another post just about the two practice books.
The first one is called Develop and Secure and the second one is Extend. And if you are anything like me you might be wondering which one to get? Do they contain the same questions? Do you get both or is it even worth getting a practice book? So this is my opinion on the practice books (I will give an update at the end of the year once we have worked all the way through everything).
To begin with I want to state – the questions in the text books are different to the questions in the practice books and the text book and practice books really do go well together. The text book has the detailed explanation on the topics and is followed by a number of questions split into 3 bands. The practice book has extra questions (I am stressing the word extra as the questions in the practice books are different from the text book so you are NOT wasting your money buying both). Also to make it clear the practice book is not a “write in” book – you kids will need to do the questions on paper (I actually really like this because I intend to use the books with both of my kids).
We started Year 9 with the Develop and Secure Practice Book 3 and we started by working through the first 3 chapters – Powers and Indices, Fractions and Accuracy. My daughter would go through the explanations in the text book, then do the band 1 and 2 questions in the text book, she would then flip to the questions in the practice book and then go back and do the band 3 questions in the text book. Which is a LOT of questions, but we have a “Maths needs to be practiced” approach. With these first 3 chapters I felt like she needed more challenging questions. She was cruising through the practice book and I want her to have some Maths questions that make her think, that she actually gets wrong the first time and we need to work through them. So we opted to buy the Extend Practice Book (it does only cost £6.99 and you get 73 pages of Maths questions and all answers are free to download from the site – which for me is a reasonable price.)
First impression of the Extend Practice Book – the questions in the Extend Practice book were more challenging and there were lots of problem solving type questions. Also the Develop and Secure Practice book has some summary reminders to help the student whereas the Extend Practice book has very few summary reminders.
How do I think the practice books link in with the text books? The text books questions are set out in Bands. Hodder Education explains the Bands as follows.
Band 1 – Working Towards
Band 2 – Working At
Band 3 – Exceeding
My impression of the practice books is if your child is more comfortable doing the Band 1 and Band 2 questions then go for the Develop and Secure Practice Book. But if you child seems to find Band 1 easy and is working more at the Band 2 and Band 3 level than the extend practice book would be better. But I do feel like some people (like myself) may actually like having both practice books. My daughter is at a Band 2 and a bit of Band 3 Maths level. But the Extend practice book, by itself, in some areas would just not give her the breath of questions that I would like. I feel like we need a mix of questions from both the practice books. And it also depends on which Maths topic we are covering. For example I know my daughter finds fractions easy so we focused on the harder questions, but I know Ratio and Proportion is not something she is as comfortable with so we are going to first go through the easier questions, make sure we are happy and then tackle the harder ones. Also there are some topic where we will NOT do all the questions because in the past we have covered it in A LOT detail but there are other topics that we will do most of the questions. It is a bit of a tricky answer, I know, but I do feel like lots of kids may benefit from a combination of both practice books where you decide on the questions based on the Maths topic covered.
And one final comment – on the Hodder Education website they have Boost eBooks available – I emailed someone at Hodder and inquired about these and apparently they are just the digital format of the text book and practice books (so the questions in the Boost eBooks are the same as the normal paper Books that you buy)
You can get the Mastering Mathematics Practice Books directly from Hodder Education
Or you can buy them from amazon
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