Looking for a pre-algebra curriculum? Understanding Pre-Algebra: Middle School Mathematics by The Critical Thinking Co™ is worth considering. Here’s our review.
Understanding Pre-Algebra Review
What You'll Find on This Page
Emma already has a pre-algebra book that she is steadily working her way through, but she was a good sport and looked through this book. I looked at it as well.
What Did We Like About Understanding Pre-Algebra?
Both Emma and I liked the fact that there were colorful illustrations spread throughout this math book. For reasons I fail to understand, math books are frequently lacking in visual representations. Depending on how it is printed, printing pages with color can cost more, but I’ve seen research showing that color can accelerate learning while increasing retention and comprehension. It seems like it’s worth the price to make a subject more interesting and easier to understand! Even pages like the one highlighted above make simple math problems more interesting.
Colors can also help students organize thoughts, as shown above.
The book is designed to provide a complete pre-algebra course, and I feel it does that. The book starts off discussing the different kinds of numbers, then moves on to algebraic expressions. Geometry is introduced, as well as functions and probability and statistics. It’s a great resource if you want to make sure your child doesn’t move on in math with gaping holes (for example, I mysteriously made it all the way through higher level calculus in high school without going through a single statistics lesson).
What Would We Change About Understanding Pre-Algebra?
I think that some kids would enjoy this book, and it’s certainly one worth considering if you are looking for a pre-algebra book for your kids. Emma found some of the exercises in the book repetitive – in a “keep saying the same thing” kind of way rather than “let’s practice some more” way. She really liked the colorful pirate game, and would have liked a higher ratio of those kinds of pages to the “fill in an answer” type of page that you see above.
I think that storytelling and visual representation are under-used in mathematical teaching. This book, to its credit, had some of both. Emma and I would have liked to see more.
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More Critical Thinking Co™ Reviews
There is an entire time of home schoolers reviewing The Critical Thinking Co™ products this month! Read all of their reviews – including more opinions about the math book we reviewed – by clicking on the image below.