Many children struggle to connect academic math lessons to the real world. You’re probably already hearing the age-old retort: “we’ll never use this in real life”? Perhaps you even said it yourself when you were in school?
When it comes to most things these days, kids have it a lot easier than we did. That’s especially true when it comes to learning, thanks to a new interactive learning product. MEL Math is a new product from MEL Science that can help your young kids dissolve the boundary between theory and practice, giving them practical outlets for their math studies by clearly demonstrating where math concepts are relevant to real life.
What is MEL Science?
MEL Science has been providing kids with educational subscription boxes that focus on hands-on experiments and making science accessible, interesting, and cool. Made for kids ages 5-14, MEL Science is also a great tool for teachers, schools, and homeschooling parents.
They offer over 100 hands-on projects that are delivered monthly, along with over 50 digital experiences that are available at any time. The subjects include coding, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), physics, chemistry, and medicine, and they now offer a math box, encompassing statistics, basic math, and more.
Source: MEL Math
MEL Math Review
MEL Math sets are delivered to your home once a month, and each kit covers a selection of related topics.
Want to learn more about probability? Done. Plumb the depths of infinity? Sure thing! Learn why certain carnival games have always been stacked against you? No problem.
They’ll get the chance to apply what they’ve learned with additional games and activities in each set, along with the supplemental app and video content. Most importantly, your kids will get to see that every math topic they encounter has a purpose, even if traditional textbooks don’t always explain what it is.
Our experience with MEL Math
When flipping through the instruction booklets, I was particularly struck by the illustrations and extra activities. You can tell that the creators of MEL Math really love kids and simultaneously respect their intellect. While the drawings are fun and sweet, they never cross the line into infantile and distracting.
Also, they often throw in fun little easter eggs for the adults or older children (thinking in particular of a certain map hiding a fun pop culture reference or two!). I also appreciated that the extra activities often had my kids up and walking around, measuring my own height or recording the temperature every day for a week to try to plot it on a chart.
Source: MEL Math
Where MEL Math struggles is, funnily enough, brevity. Brevity is the soul of wit, but sometimes I just wanted the sets to go into more depth. Then again, the length is probably better for younger kids with shorter attention spans — and the projects are such that kids can always return to them a second time if they want more!
This also makes the somewhat steep price of $34 per box a bit more manageable, especially with all the extra video and app content.
Best kids math subscription boxes: MEL Math vs DreamBox vs Illustrative Mathematics
While Illustrative Mathematics is more comprehensive and covers a wider range of topics, the hands-on component to the MEL Math sets lends the subject matter a grounded feel that we can’t overlook. Unfortunately, unlike DreamBox and Illustrative Mathematics, MEL Math is currently US-only.
The verdict: Is MEL Math worth it?
MEL Math is a great option for anyone who’s noticed that their kids just don’t seem to see the point of math. Just because we do have a calculator in our pocket everywhere we go, doesn’t mean we don’t need to know what exactly we’re doing with it and why.
And hey, maybe they’ll put down that ‘calculator’ and pick up their curvimeter — or maybe they’ll go boldly forward, ‘calculator’ in hand, to use their step length to calculate the height of that tree over there. Either way, that’s a step in the right direction!
MEL Math subscription box FAQs
The box’s contents are different every month, but the math boxes come with different variations of unbeatable games to explore probability, toys that involve the real-life applications of math, and geometric designs.
MEL Science offers over 100 subscription boxes with subjects like coding, STEM, physics, chemistry, and medicine. Some of the specific boxes contain learning areas such as:
You can pause or cancel your subscription in the My Accounts tab on their website, and you have the ability to reactivate at any time.
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