Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Different Type of Math...

On a roll this month with some amazing products....This time it is The Critical Thinking Company!  Specifically reviewed this time was "Balance Math Teaches Algebra".  If you have never heard of The Critical Thinking Company, they put out super workbooks that teacher deductive reasoning, inferences, lateral thinking, logic, analogies, and other thinking skills.

We purchased Balance Math and More, Level 2 at last year's Homeschool Convention, where I was completely overwhelmed by their booth ( I wanted everything!).  My children have enjoyed using it to supplement their regular math program, or as something different to do on Fridays.  Balance Math Teaches Algebra is a 62 page workbook, using scales to show equalities (or inequalities) and using shapes, letters and numbers to present equations that the student must figure out based on deductive reasoning and logic.  They are actually quite fun once you get the hang of it. 

It starts off simple, to get children used to thinking in terms of "x".  You'll see two scales.  On one side of the first scale, you see "20".  It balances with the other side that shows "x".  So you reason that 20 and x are equal.  The second scale shows "x" and then the other side has a "?".  The student simply writes that the answer is 20.  Once they get their mind working along these lines, they get a little tougher, showing 4 cubes, each labeled "x".  The scale balances out to "20".  The second scale shows 3 "x" cubes, with a question mark on the other side.  The student must realize that if 4x = 20, 3x must equal 15.  And so forth......

Never fear, English-majors!  There are tips and hints in the back, as well as the answers to each question with explanations.  Each page is perforated for easy copying, so you can use them with multiple children and still keep your originals intact for future kiddos coming up the ranks.

I think by using the balances and the shapes, not just numbers and letters, kids will "get it" much easier because the problems look like fun.  They look more like puzzles.  And that's what we call them around here. "Puzzles".

This product sells for $14.99 through the company's site here.  If you have younger children, they also offer Level 1, 2 and 3 Balance Math and More. The concept is the same, but at lower levels (these are the ones we started on last year).  They range from 2nd grade up to 12th grade and start at $9.99 per book. 

I just love the products from CTC!  Looking forward to more excuses to squeeze in a few new concept books each year!

The link to other reviews of this product is here.

**Disclaimer:  I was provided with a copy of this book to use with my children, in exchange for an honest review, having received no other compensation.


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