Primary Algebra - Developing Algebraic Reasoning
This series of 21 lessons teaches many pre-Algebraic concepts. While most public school math programs include this NCTM standard strand in elementary grades, if you are using a more traditional program, your child may miss out on early exposure to these skills. Since standardized tests now also include them, you may want to incorporate these into your math program. I firmly believe that it is preferable to introduce young children to most math concepts at an early age. Not only do they seem capable of understanding them, but their minds seem more nimble and ready to stretch to accommodate them. Too many students are baffled and befuddled by algebra when it is finally thrust upon them in late middle school or early high school. I remember my dear sister wrestling nightly with the dreaded "algebra monster." She barely passed the course and, after geometry, eschewed further mathematical pursuits (that is, until she decided she did want a college degree after all, and ended up in college algebra at the tender age of 55!) Anyway, I'm guessing if our school had used Miquon Math, Marsha might have become an algebra whiz before becoming a grandmother! And, even though we did use Miquon Math in our homeschool, I know my children would have benefited from going through these lessons prior to their first encounter with algebra.
The book is divided into three chapters: "Understanding Patterns and Functions," "Problem Solving Using Numbers, Pictures, and Symbols," and "Understanding Equivalence and Equations." Each lesson has a teacher page with instructions for introducing the concept and answers to the exercises. The activities are well-conceived, varied and engaging. I especially appreciate the many balance scale activities in the Equations chapter, as we use this equation = balance scale analogy frequently in our school. If you peruse the table of contents for the student book on our website, you can see how many worksheets there are for each lesson (it varies). Some lessons may require more than one session to complete. Other features include an annotated list of recommended math-related children's books, a bibliography, a list of interesting websites (including my favorite, the Utah State University National Library of Virtual Manipulatives - check it out!), and paper (not card stock) pattern blocks, blank spinners, dominoes, money, and a 100-chart to use if you don't have "real" ones. The student workbook contains a complete set of the activity sheets and paper manipulatives. Please NOTE: If you are using for a single student or have access to a photocopy machine, you do not need to purchase the separate student workbook.