The Math Detective® series consists of three books. The one subtitled Beginning is recommended for students in grades three and four. The book subtitled A1 is recommended for grades five and six, and B1 is for grades seven and eight. These reproducible workbooks (with permission to copy for one family or one classroom) help students work simultaneously on skills for math, critical thinking, and careful reading.
Each book has 38 to 44 lessons, and each lesson is spread over two to four pages. Every lesson presents information in one or more paragraphs that involve math-related concepts. A chart or another supplemental source of data sometimes accompanies the information. Students will answer a series of questions by searching through the provided information.
The questions vary in style. Some questions are standard, math word problems. Many questions require students to combine different types of data to arrive at their answers. Occasionally, students will complete a chart or answer a multiple-choice question, but more often students will fill in blanks with their answers. The questions often require multiple steps and complex thinking.
Some questions tell students to show their work, and every lesson has at least one question that asks students to explain their reasoning or give an opinion in one or more complete sentences. The sentences in the paragraphs of information are numbered, and students are often asked to identify the sentence where they found particular data or information. (This last type of question is frequently found on standardized tests for both math and reading.)
The books cover math concepts that are supposed to be addressed at the pertinent grade levels as outlined by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Charts showing details of what is covered in each lesson are near the front of each book.
Both the style of questions and the topics covered in these books are particularly helpful for students preparing for standardized tests. Beyond test preparation, the lessons are great for developing real-life skills that require a combination of reading, thinking, and math.