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Critical Thinking Co. Review: Understanding Algebra 1

Understanding Algebra 1
It seems like yesterday when I was looking for a kindergarten math program for my eldest son. Now it’s Algebra, yikes! Thankfully there are a lot of great math programs to choose from like Understanding Algebra 1 from The Critical Thinking Co.

Understanding Algebra 1 is part of their Award-Winning Mathematical Reasoning series. The author Terri Husted has more then 30 years of experience with teaching Algebra.
Critical Thinking Co.
Understanding Algebra 1 uses step-by-step lesson to help the student get a full understanding with how to solve the problem. The program is written to the student, uses full color illustrations, and doesn’t over explain or complicate things.

Understanding Algebra 1 is a full color, 361 page, reproducible workbook. I love that The Critical Thinking Co. gives the option of being able to reproduce the book within the immediate family. We chose to go ahead and have Caleb write in the book. Anything to make math easier and get it done.

There are 12 chapters included covering:
  1. Our Number System: Sets, Operations, and Properties
  2. Evaluating Expressions and Solving Equations
  3. From Words to Algebra: Translating and Solving Word Problems
  4. From Words to Algebra More Word Problems
  5. Inequalities: Compound Inequalities, and Absolute Value
  6. Polynomials
  7. Factoring
  8. Working with Radicals
  9. Linear Functions
  10. Systems of Equations and Inequalities
  11. Other Types of Functions
  12. Working with Algebraic Fractions
In the back of the book there is graph paper that your child can copy if needed. There is also a Reference Chart that you can pull out and laminate as well. And the answer key is also included, yay, no separate teacher manual!

Since everything is explained to the student with step-by-step instructions for each lesson there is no teacher manual. Everything you need to teach Algebra 1 is in this book! By the time Caleb completed Understanding Algebra 1 he should have a good grasp and understanding of Algebra. I’m excited that he has the opportunity to use The Critical Thinking Co. higher math course.

The target grade level for this program is for 7th-9th grade.
Understanding Algebra 1
Each chapter has practice problems, enrichment problems and/or thinking problems, and a chapter review.

There is also a message from the author to the student at the end of the last chapter which I thought was neat. It’s an encouraging note communicating to the student that (my own words) algebra doesn’t have to be scary and hard. The author reminds the student that algebra is all about thinking. Computers and calculators will help perform operations more quickly but they won’t replace your thinking.

How we are using Understanding Algebra: Caleb my 8th grade son is helping me with this review. 

I am having him write directly in the book. Being able to write in the book is usually a requirement here (wink) it just helps with his workload and is one less step for Caleb.

He uses Understanding Algebra 1 several times a week along with his regular math program. Caleb struggles a bit with reading and because of this we usually try to find online programs with tutorials.  I was a little concerned with Understanding Algebra 1 about the reading. I had asked him if he would like me to read some of it to him (thinking he’d comprehend it better) but he said no and so far is doing fine with it.

We both like the step-by-step lessons and love that it’s in color. Something about color makes for a more interesting math program.  I think having color can make it more ‘fun’ than every page being black-and-white when students get to higher math. We also liked that he can write in the workbook and there is enough space to workout the problems. A few times he had to use notebook paper but for the most part there was enough room.

15% Off Any Size Order! Details: Offer expires 5/31/2015 at Midnight PST. Use Coupon Code BLOGR315. Online prepaid orders only. Valid one per customer. Offer does not apply to iOS or Android apps, or manipulatives such as Attribute Blocks, Interlocking Cubes or Pattern Blocks. Offer may not be combined with other discounts or offers, and is not retroactive. Not valid on wholesale orders.

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