Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Master Ruler - by Master Innovations (TOS Review)

Fractions.  The bane of many homeschool moms who are attempting to teach them - including, at times, this homeschooling mom.  Sometimes it seems like the girls "get it", sometimes it doesn't.

When I learned I'd be receiving the Master Ruler to review as part of the TOS homeschool review crew, I was intrigued. Honestly, I'd never heard of Master Innovations, Inc. the maker of the Master Ruler along with with several other products (including Master Clock, Master Fractions and Master Angles).  I had secretly hoped to receive Master Fractions (so I could evaluate how it reinforced our fraction knowledge) to review, but was very pleasantly surprised when the Master Ruler arrived - I could also use it for fraction practice!  

My package included the Master Ruler Standard ($9.95), the Master Ruler Metric ($9.95), the Master Ruler Workbook ($15.95) (available in English and English/Spanish, and ), and the Marvels of Measurement poster ($10.00).

The Master Ruler captured my attention immediately - this is a cool little teaching gadget!  Both the standard version and the metric version consist of spiral-bound "layers".  On the standard version, the "bottom" layer is opaque white, with inches marked in red.  Flip over the first see-through overlay and you see blue markings in half-inch increments, but the red inch markings on the bottom layer are still visible. This helps the child relate half-inches to inches. This method repeats on the following three overlays beginning with 1/4" increments (in green), 1/8" increments (in orange) and 1/16" increments (in purple). The inch markings on each overlay get shorter, so that the colored inch markings of each layer are visible at all times.  

I know that was very confusing, so here's a video that will better explain how the rulers are set up and how they work:

You can see other videos on Master Innovation's products here.  You can contact Master Innovations here

My girls loved playing with the rulers and using the workbook. The workbook pages are black/white which usually doesn't hold my kids' attention, but they were so interested in measuring and comparing that they didn't seem to care about the lack of color.  The workbook begins with a *great* reference chart on the metric system which includes a list of similar English measures.  The workbook includes measurement, map skills, scale drawings, area/perimeter, volume, diameter and measurement hints.  Warning - before you give the workbook to your kids, remove the answer key in the back!  My girls enjoyed working through the workbook, and have continued to use the master ruler to measure a variety of items throughout our house (including their feet!).  They now prefer the master ruler to a regular ruler and I agree with them since it's much easier to see the measurements!

The best result of our use of the master ruler is that the girls were able to see the relation between the different increments of measurement - the formerly abstract concept of fractions was made more concrete - a "light bulb" moment!

Genius - pure genius.  I highly recommend it.  This is one of those "why didn't I think of that?" products. 

Another beautiful result - the girls have *asked* if we can get the fractions and angles products from Master Innovations.  You have to love it when kids want to learn. 

To see my crewmates' reviews of this product and other Master Innovations products, click here.

For giveaways, other product reviews and other fun things, follow the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Crew blog at:

Disclaimer: As part of the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received the product described in this review at no cost in exchange for my fair, honest and unbiased (and not necessarily positive) review. No other compensation was received.

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