Discovering Algebra: An Investigative Approach
How the publisher describes it:
“A procedure that you do over and over, each time building on, is recursive.”
Review by Steve Bishop
“All this serves to make the book largely inappropriate for the UK market.”
This massive full-colour book purports to provide a new approach to algebra. It has 12 chapters:
0 Fractions and fractals
1 data exploration
2 Proportional reasoning and probability
3 Variation and graphs
4 Linear equations
5 Fitting a line to data
6 Systems of equations and inequalities
7 exponents and exponential models
10 Quadratic models
11 Introduction to geometry
As can be seen from the chapter titles it attempts to do much more than cover algebra.
Throughout the text are ‘Calculator notes’, ‘Examples’, ‘Investigations and Exercises’. Each chapter ends with ‘Assessing what you have learned’.
The book is aimed at US grades 8-10.
It is very North American - we have nickels and cents used in probability exercises, people’s height and masses are measured in feet and pounds, there is a project utilising baseball statistics. The content is also very different to the National Curriculum. Much emphasis, for example, is placed on matrices - they are used to organise and combine data as well as to solve equations. All this serves to make the book largely inappropriate for the UK market.
There is a website devoted to the book which includes web links, advice for teachers and parents, practice worksheets, dynamic algebra explorations and calculator notes and programs.
There are some excellent ideas in the book and UK publishers and authors would do well to take note! I particularly liked the way that the ‘Exercises’ were split into ‘Practice your skills’, ‘Reason and apply’ and ‘Review’. The review reviewed material covered in previous chapters; the reason and apply uses material from the chapter and places it in a more challenging or unusual context; the practice your skills provides scope to practice the new skills learnt in that chapter.
Overall, a great resource book for teachers, but it is a shame it is so geared the North American market.
Steve Bishop • Mathematics lecturer, City of Bristol College
Hardcover: 714 pages
Publisher: Key Curriculum Press (Aug 2001)
Product Dimensions: 28.1 x 21.8 x 3 cm