My son just finished 7th grade. He has an amazing mind. When he understands a concept, especially a math concept, he can work problems out in his head that would take the average person half of a paper to solve. When he doesn't understand a concept right away, he guesses and moves on. We've had a lot of the "not understanding" this year as he's moved on to pre-algebra, which takes a little more time each day to ensure that one is doing it correctly. I had hoped that this book from The Critical Thinking Co.™ would give him another perspective and help him understand the math skills he needs to learn.
The book is large, with perforated pages. If your child is overwhelmed by an entire book, you can take out just the lesson they need for the day. There are 374 pages, not including the answer key. Each chapter is split into sections, and each section has some instruction pages and some practice problems. Within the instructions are some colored blocks. The colors help math rules stand out. You know when you see a colored block that you need to pay attention, and the colors help it stand out for when you might need to look back for that rule! There are graphics that help teach or emphasize a point. For instance, Rational Numbers are nicknamed RATS with a rat pictured on the page. It's a fun way to trigger the memory.
Another great mnemonic we found helpful is the cowboy story. This story teaches how to remember the rules for multiplying and dividing positive and negative integers. My son laughed at me when I excitedly showed him the story, and he keeps reminding me how corny it is. But... it works!! We can both remember how to solve these problems and the positives and negatives don't confuse us anymore.
The book can be used as a full curriculum for grades 6-8. It helps make these math concepts clear and simple for the student. Each chapter has a review at the end of it. The back of the book has a section with all of the answers, which I tore out and kept for only me to use! You do not have to do the book in order, if you need to review some concepts it's easy to do that. If you need to use it as a supplement to another curriculum, that's just fine too. Like any good math book it contains a glossary, but the reference sheet at the end is a nice bonus. It lists formulas that are commonly used such as the area and volume of various shapes, how to figure slope, a table of square roots, and more.
|The adding integers game|
Even though this is a full curriculum, we are using it over the summer to help solidify pre-algebra concepts. I feel that if my children don't have a good solid understanding of these concepts, they'll struggle later. This book is helping my son to feel confident with his math skills! We like the simple, step-by-step way that it teaches.
My son is looking forward to the graphing chapters, probably because he can already do those quite well. I'm looking forward to the ENTIRE BOOK because I can see that having these concepts taught in a different way is helping him understand them better.
I asked J what he thinks of Understanding Pre-Algebra. He's not a boy of many words, but he said, "Mom, this book explains it in a better way. I can figure out the problems more easily after learning from this book."
Crew members reviewed a variety of books from The Critical Thinking Co.™. Find the other reviews for the following books at this Crew post.
Critical Thinking Detective Book 1
Something Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha
Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary
Dare to Compare Level 1
Vocabulary Riddles Book 1
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