Monday, May 4, 2015

Critical Thinking - Understanding Algebra 1 - Review

I was recently offered a copy of Understanding Algebra 1 by Critical Thinking. We were offered a choice of two books and although Jam was sorely tempted by the history one he decided he would probably benefit more by working on the Understanding Algebra one.

The book itself is soft backed and you do most of the work directly inside, except for a few exercise for extra practice that are worked in a separate notebook. I quite liked the design however, it would have been nice to have a separate answer key. Sometimes it can be a pain to flip backwards and forwards. Luckily Jam is very trustworthy and I can rely on him not to look at the answers in the back while working on his exercise. If that was a problem it would be easy enough to cut them out and store them in a folder.

On the very first page in this book you will find a poem;

 Arithmetic by Carl Sanburg

 Arithmetic is where numbers fly like pigeons in and out of your
Arithmet ic tell you how many you lose or win if you know how
    many you had before you lost or won.
Arithmetic is seven eleven all good children go to heaven -- or five
    six bundle of sticks.
Arithmetic is numbers you squeeze from your head to your hand
    to your pencil to your paper till you get the answer.
Arithmetic is where the answer is right and everything is nice and
    you can look out of the window and see the blue sky -- or the
    answer is wrong and you have to start all over and try again
    and see how it comes out this time.
If you take a number and double it and double it again and then
    double it a few more times, the number gets bigger and bigger
    and goes higher and higher and only arithmetic can tell you
    what the number is when you decide to quit doubling.
Arithmetic is where you have to multiply -- and you carry the
    multiplication table in your head and hope you won't lose it.
If you have two animal crackers, one good and one bad, and you
    eat one and a striped zebra with streaks all over him eats the
    other, how many animal crackers will you have if somebody
    offers you five six seven and you say No no no and you say
    Nay nay nay and you say Nix nix nix?
If you ask your mother for one fried egg for breakfast and she
    gives you two fried eggs and you eat both of them, who is
    better in arithmetic, you or your mother?

Jam thought it was really cool to have a math book start with a poem and it seemed to relax him straight away.

The author of this book is Terro Husted. She has been teaching math for over 30 years. She is currently teaching High School Algebra and Geometry. She firmly believes that math can be made clear and simple for everyone. This was good news for Jam as math scares him to death and it's definitely not on his 'fun' list.

The next part of the book explains what Algebra is - I think this addition is great too as sometimes when we hear words like 'Algebra' we just start to get nervous.

The book is divided up into 12 chapters;

Chapter 1 - Our Number System
Chapter 2 - Evaluating Expressions and Solving Equations
Chapter 3 - From Words to Algebra Translating and Solving Word Problems
Chapter 4 - From Words to Algebra More Word Problems
Chapter 5 - Inequalities, Compound Inequalities, Absolute Value
Chapter 6 - Polynominals
Chapter 7 - Factoring
Chapter 8 - Working with Radicals
Chapter 9 - Linear Functions
Chapter 10- Linear Functions
Chapter 11- Systems of Equations and Inequalities
Chaper 12- Working with Algebraic Functions

Jam is quite intimidated with math however he seemed to take to this book straight away, and has never minded to work through it. He likes the way the book is written and the layout of the pages. The writing is black on a write page but any illustrations are done it color so they stand out well on the page.

Each chapter starts with an explanation of the topic covered that the student reads. Sometimes Jam and I would read this together. However, a lot of the time Jam likes to read this by himself and then we re-read it if he finds anything confusing. There are sections that offer more practice or enrichment problems, these exercises Jam has been completing in a cheap ring notebook. There is a nice amount of questions with each topic to ensure that the student has enough practice.

Jam really like this course and will continue to use it now the review period has finished.

Critical Thinking is offering my readers 15% Off Any Size Order!

Details: Offer expires 5/31/2015 at Midnight PST. Use Coupon Code BLOGR315. Online prepaid orders only. Valid one per customer. Offer does not apply to iOS or Android apps, or manipulatives such as Attribute Blocks, Interlocking Cubes or Pattern Blocks. Offer may not be combined with other discounts or offers, and is not retroactive. Not valid on wholesale orders.

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