Beast Academy 1B Math Guide and Practice (combined volume)
Beast Academy provides a fun, rigorous, challenging, complete curriculum for aspiring math beasts. BA Level 1B includes chapters on addition, subtraction, and categories.
The book includes Guide sections written in an engaging comic book style, and over 600 practice problems ranging from introductory level exercises to very challenging puzzles and word problems.
Now available, Beast Academy 1 fits the needs of children who need a math challenge! Using the popular monster theme of the other levels, Level 1 teaches math conceptually and focuses on problem solving. At this level, the all-in-one Guide and Practice Book are all you need! Beginning with a How to Use section, children begin by reading the comic book style lessons, and then complete the practice pages that follow the guided lesson. The pace is fast, and mastery is the goal. Hundreds of practice problems are included, ranging from typical math practice to word problems and challenging puzzles. Student hints and answers (some with expanded explanations) are found in the back of the book. Free printable resources at the publisher website make this excellent math program more interactive. Recommended for children ages 6-8 years. Students should be able to count and write to at least 20 (100 is preferred) before they begin Beast Academy 1. Early readers may need the help of a parent. Not reproducible. Printable manipulatives, game boards and other resources are available at the Beast Academy website.
Book 1A focuses on counting, shapes and comparing.
Book 1B teaches addition and subtraction concepts and strategies, even/odd, same and different, prime numbers, and circle diagrams.
Book 1C covers addition and subtraction, adding/subtracting using a number line, counting by tens, number comparisons, expressions, patterns (shape, number, and special patterns including Pascal’s Triangle and the Fibonacci sequence).
Book 1D covers numbers greater than 100, measurements (including lengths, days, and time) and problem solving using grids, coordinates, directions, and order).
The Art of Problem-Solving folks present: Beast Academy. Proving that any monster can do math, these comically monstrous beasts take you along with them as they face math challenges both inside and outside the Academy. Described as "rigorous, challenging, engaging, and fun" by the publisher, I would expect nothing less from a curriculum designed to ready your child for the demands of MATHCOUNTS and post-elementary AOPS curricula.
There are four parts for each grade level (A through D). Each part consists of two books: a Guide and a Practice Book, except for Level 1, which combines the Guide and Practice Book into an all-in-one resource for each part. Core instruction takes place in the Guide, which is written in colorful, comic-book style and stars a cast of not-quite-cute monsters. Each book is divided topically into three chapters. These chapters are further divided into sections (subtopics). For example, Chapter 1 of Grade 3A: Shapes contains sections labeled: Angles, Triangles, Quadrilaterals, and Polyominoes. In our 3A Sample, parents will find activity sheets, notes, extensions, and games interspersed between the sections. Helpful, red rectangles at the end of some pages tell you when to break and do practice problems. Stop signs also appear in the corners of some panels. These contain questions for the student to answer before continuing to read. Guides are non-consumable. All written work is done in the corresponding Practice Book which contains 300-400 practice problems and puzzles that reinforce the Guides' instruction. Practice chapters each begin with a recommended sequence (like a lesson plan) correlating the reading (Guide) to specific practice pages. Problem sets generally begin with a recap of the concepts covered and a model problem with solution. Some problems have a pencil icon next to them, signaling the student to write an explanation in addition to their answer. "Very challenging" problems are starred. Doubly starred problems are, well, beastly. For students requiring a little help with these, each has a hint to get them started. These are found in a separate section in the back of the book, so students won't be tempted to use them unless necessary. Complete solutions to all problems in the book are also included. All pages in the Practice Book are perforated, so you can optionally tear out either the problem sets or solution keys if you desire.
So, how does this program compare to other math curriculums? Compared to Saxon Grade 3, they cover basically the same topics, though each cover a few that the other doesn't. Saxon follows a spiral approach and integrates review, whereas this program is very topical and by design includes neither tests nor chapter reviews. Saxon is a traditional math course whereas Beast Academy is not. It is innately more conceptual and interactive because of its unique lesson format. While Saxon is intended to be teacher-led, Beast Academy is written to the student. While manipulatives are an integral part of Saxon instruction, they would only be used here by choice as student problem-solving aids (though the characters use "real" objects in the context of the lessons). Students are encouraged to think and problem solve to a greater degree, as you might expect in a curriculum from this publisher. There is no shortage of practice problems, a shortcoming often found in less traditional programs. The math-oriented student would get the most mileage (and challenge) out of this program. It is probably NOT for the student that needs a lot of handholding. That said, my child that most disliked math would have loved this program because of its highly visual format and contextual presentation of concepts.
Beast Academy has its own support website www.beastacademy.com which contains free pre-assessments (with solutions), selected printable practice pages, coloring pages, and errata. When your little beast is finished with grade 5, he or she can move on to AOPS (or any other demanding) middle-school math program.