Ctitical Thinking- Balance Math Teaches Algebra Review
Friday, April 27, 2012
The Critical Thinking Co.'s Balance Math tm Teaches Algebra written by Robert Femiano has been a fun review for us. All 4 of my current school aged children liked this product. Since the owner of the book is allowed to make 35 copies per page (per year) directly from the book , this book is not consumable (though I guess it could be).
This 50 year company outdoes itself over and over again- in my opinion. We own many items by this company and I was happy to be chosen to review. In fact, we are using 2 other books currently along with our other work.
This book is the latest in a series of 4 books that contain picture puzzles and activities as a way to teach Algebra. Because of the visual approach, children seem to grasp and make sense of the concepts easier than traditional Algebra problems. The problems start out very easy and increase in difficulty- as would be expected. A picture shows a scale. On one end is a symbol or symbols and on the other side is a number or a combination of numbers and symbols that help the child figure out the number each symbol stands for.
Balance Math Teaches Algebra is available online at www.criticalthinking.com for $14.99. Don't let the thinness fool you, a lot of ground covered in these lessons. Level 1, 2 and 3 deal with addition, subtraction and multiplication and are $9.99 each. It can also be ordered by calling the company directly- at 800-458-4849. If you would like free shipping, please follow this link!
My 7 yo loves math and while this was definitely not at her level, she does work above her grade level in math and was able to do some of the first lessons. My 8 yo didn't love it, but he did still like it. I am not sure how to make math click for him or if he just doesn't want to think- so this company isn't about finding the right answer and putting it in a blank. My 10 was very matter of fact and analytical- as he tends to be in most things. My 14 yo started out hesitant and expected to be frustrated. When he found out the puzzles were fun, I could see him gain confidence. Algebra hasn't been his favorite subject. He started out well, but seems to get lost easily. So, we have started and backed up more than once. Math is certainly not a good or favorite subject for him. You can also look inside the book to see what it is like.
We used Balance Math tm Teaches Algebra as a supplement to the math each child is currently doing. At first, we worked together on the pages, but it didn't take long before my children were asking me to make copies for them and wanting to work them on their own (except my 8 yo who can take even a fun subject and make it into work. Interestingly, he seems to have the capacity of being a great student and is very intelligent, but he seems to put his thought into things other than school time- unless it isn't school. If he is supposed to be setting the table, for instance, or tonight before bed, then he will likely be doing school… He can be a *little* contrary!
All in all, we loved this book and it made a difficult and frustrating subject more fun. This book is geared for 4th - 12th grade. I feel that is the perfect range for this book. We love this company!
Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of this product as part of the TOS Review crew in exchange for my honest opinion.