NotSoObvious Posted October 26, 2012 Share Posted October 26, 2012 I'm looking through pre-algebra curriculum and I'm having a hard time figuring out what makes it "pre-algebra," as a lot of it looks similar to what my girls are doing now (5th grade) and what they'll be doing in 6th grade math. It seems to be a general review of the concepts they will have already studied. Specifically, I'm looking at the list of subjects covered in Derek Owens pre-algebra. http://www.derekowens.com/course_info_prealgebra.php By the time my girls are in 7th grade, they will have already covered at least 80% of that. Is the pre-algebra difference in application? Integration? Is there a different way of putting it all together that is preparing them for Algebra? Is it a transition class, preparing them for a larger workload or a bigger output? Honestly, all I remember about pre-algebra was that it was really easy and a review of things I had learned in elementary school. I'm having a hard time extracting the point of it all. Please enlighten me! Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

regentrude Posted October 26, 2012 Share Posted October 26, 2012 Pre algebra is a a fancy name for the skills a student must have before starting algebra. Students need to be proficient in arithmetic with positive and negative integers and fractions (including percent and decimals.) Aside from that, there really is no such thing as "prealgebra". Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

EKS Posted October 27, 2012 Share Posted October 27, 2012 I used Derek Owens' prealgebra course with my son last year. Prealgebra is basically a great big review of arithmetic with a small foray into algebra. The DO course does this admirably. Most chapters review arithmetic and then take it the extra step into algebra. It's a solid course and I recommend it for students who need the extra year prior to starting algebra. That said, for a kid who has mastered arithmetic and won't benefit from review, an algebra course like Jacobs Algebra that has a gentle introduction will work just fine. I did that with my older son and it worked well. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

NotSoObvious Posted October 27, 2012 Author Share Posted October 27, 2012 I used Derek Owens' prealgebra course with my son last year. Prealgebra is basically a great big review of arithmetic with a small foray into algebra. The DO course does this admirably. Most chapters review arithmetic and then take it the extra step into algebra. It's a solid course and I recommend it for students who need the extra year prior to starting algebra. That said, for a kid who has mastered arithmetic and won't benefit from review, an algebra course like Jacobs Algebra that has a gentle introduction will work just fine. I did that with my older son and it worked well. Yay. Thanks for this. I really love the look of Derek Owen's classes. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

NotSoObvious Posted October 27, 2012 Author Share Posted October 27, 2012 Pre algebra is a a fancy name for the skills a student must have before starting algebra. Students need to be proficient in arithmetic with positive and negative integers and fractions (including percent and decimals.)Aside from that, there really is no such thing as "prealgebra". OK, this is what I was thinking, but I wanted to make sure there wasn't something special I was missing. Thanks. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

NittanyJen Posted October 27, 2012 Share Posted October 27, 2012 Most of us back in the day never bothered with "pre Algebra." It was offered to kids whose math skills were not strong enough to handle algebra after a standard arithmetic curriculum; it served as a bridge course between arithmetic and algebra. Theoretically it should still no longer be necessary, as it does not exist as any type of mathematics (just as pre-calc is non-existent). The thing to watch for is whether a publsher writes the scope and sequence as if everyone needs PA now that it is popular; skipping it could lead to skipping exponents or other instruction. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

AimeeM Posted October 27, 2012 Share Posted October 27, 2012 Pre algebra is a a fancy name for the skills a student must have before starting algebra. Students need to be proficient in arithmetic with positive and negative integers and fractions (including percent and decimals.)Aside from that, there really is no such thing as "prealgebra". This. As much as Maria Miller insists her MM6 isn't a prealgebra course, my husband looked it over before we started is very confident it will cover all the arithmetic before we hit algebra (adding in some extra work with DragonBox and HOE for equations). He never did "prealgebra" and transitioned fine into algebra (I did take a "prealgebra" course, but I'm significantly younger than him). Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

mothergooseof4 Posted October 27, 2012 Share Posted October 27, 2012 I think it depends on the publisher. We are doing Horizons PreAlgebra and it gets into Algebra topics. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

AimeeM Posted October 27, 2012 Share Posted October 27, 2012 I think it depends on the publisher. We are doing Horizons PreAlgebra and it gets into Algebra topics. So does math mammoth 6. It does depend on the publisher. Definitely. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Crimson Wife Posted October 27, 2012 Share Posted October 27, 2012 Pre-Algebra is typically a big review of the 4 operations, fractions, decimals, percents, ratios/proportions, and a hodgepodge of things that typically don't get taught earlier like exponents, square and cube roots, using prime factorization to calculate the GCF and LCM, scientific notation, negative numbers, etc. If you skip straight from a 5th or 6th grade book to algebra 1 without doing pre-algebra, I would pick something like Jacob's that includes these topics. FWIW, I decided to accelerate my DD by skipping Singapore 6 and going directly into Discovering Math 1 (now renamed 7A/B). Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Ellie Posted October 27, 2012 Share Posted October 27, 2012 Pre algebra is a a fancy name for the skills a student must have before starting algebra. Students need to be proficient in arithmetic with positive and negative integers and fractions (including percent and decimals.) Aside from that, there really is no such thing as "prealgebra". :iagree::iagree::iagree: I have seen many reviews here from people whose dc finished R&S's 8th grade text, which does not call itself "pre-algebra," and went on to successfully do algebra and above in other texts. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Rivka Posted October 28, 2012 Share Posted October 28, 2012 Most of us back in the day never bothered with "pre Algebra." It was offered to kids whose math skills were not strong enough to handle algebra after a standard arithmetic curriculum; it served as a bridge course between arithmetic and algebra. What do you consider "back in the day?" I took prealgebra in 7th grade in 1984-1985, and it was an honors-level course. I think prealgebra courses typically review elementary math while getting more deeply into how and why the procedures work - for example, going over the mathematical proof for why, when dividing by a fraction, "ours not to reason why - just invert and multiply." Our course also transitioned us into using the kind of notation we'd need in higher level math, like not using x to mean "times." Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

regentrude Posted October 28, 2012 Share Posted October 28, 2012 I think prealgebra courses typically review elementary math while getting more deeply into how and why the procedures work - for example, going over the mathematical proof for why, when dividing by a fraction, "ours not to reason why - just invert and multiply." Shouldn't a good math program teach the Why right along with the How? I can dream, right? It just would never occur to me to teach a procedure without the reasoning behind it. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

ChandlerMom Posted October 28, 2012 Share Posted October 28, 2012 Shouldn't a good math program teach the Why right along with the How? I can dream, right? It just would never occur to me to teach a procedure without the reasoning behind it. I agree, but there are a lot of different ways people approach teaching math, and what I think we are seeing from this discussion is that depending on how math was taught throughout the elementary years will determine whether pre-A is necessary or not. If a child has a solid *conceptual* understanding of arithmetic, you can teach any bits and pieces like exponents as they come up, or over a couple week mini-course at the start of the year. You can also see them covered in places like Khan Academy if you find gaps. OTOH, if your child has a more skills and drills and less depth/why approach to arithmetic and math, a pre-algebra course would probably be a good bridge. In my mind, teaching my kids to count their blocks was pre-algebra and pouring milk into batter was pre-calculus, so they have been getting the WHY and depth (and their brains are naturally wired for abstraction like mine) from Day 1. :D Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

NittanyJen Posted October 28, 2012 Share Posted October 28, 2012 What do you consider "back in the day?" I took prealgebra in 7th grade in 1984-1985, and it was an honors-level course. I think prealgebra courses typically review elementary math while getting more deeply into how and why the procedures work - for example, going over the mathematical proof for why, when dividing by a fraction, "ours not to reason why - just invert and multiply." Our course also transitioned us into using the kind of notation we'd need in higher level math, like not using x to mean "times." 7th was roughly early 80's. In our district, preA was strictly remedial, and very few took it. Formal proofs were introduced in algebra; concepts were always part of math from the ground up in K-8. Most kids didn't need a transition course for parenthetical and dot notation; it was introduced, then you used it. If you were advanced, you simply walked over to the high school and took algebra in 7th, or were among the few who took algebra in 8th. You had to pass the high school mid-term and final. If you were a typical average to strong student, then you took whatever math they offered through 8th and started algebra in 9th. If you needed more time to develop, then you were offered preA in 9th. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Ellie Posted October 28, 2012 Share Posted October 28, 2012 Shouldn't a good math program teach the Why right along with the How? I can dream, right? It just would never occur to me to teach a procedure without the reasoning behind it. I can tell you that for me, if you explain the why first, I'll be like :blink: But if you teach me how to do it, and how to do it multiple ways, and then we work on it until I know that I know that I know, and *then* you explain why, I'll be like :w00t: I graduated from high school in 1969. My "back in the day" was much earlier than yours. :lol: Some people have gotten so much into the importance of teaching why something works that they don't teach children how to use what they know. Understanding that addition is this group plus this group is all well and good, but you have to know your math facts if you want to balance your check book, KWIM? Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

NittanyJen Posted October 28, 2012 Share Posted October 28, 2012 I can tell you that for me, if you explain the why first, I'll be like :blink: But if you teach me how to do it, and how to do it multiple ways, and then we work on it until I know that I know that I know, and *then* you explain why, I'll be like :w00t: I graduated from high school in 1969. My "back in the day" was much earlier than yours. :lol: Some people have gotten so much into the importance of teaching why something works that they don't teach children how to use what they know. Understanding that addition is this group plus this group is all well and good, but you have to know your math facts if you want to balance your check book, KWIM? I think you have to teach the kid you have, not the kid you wish you had. Not everyone processes information identically, and there is plenty of room in the world for people who just want to know how to balance the checkbook. I get equally irritated with parents who try to turn a mechanic into a mathematician and parents who try to reign in a mathematician and force him to be a mechanic, all because "this is how it ought to be" or because of their own fears and biases about mathematics (ie rocking excessive drill on a kid who doesn't need it, or excess theory on a kid who just wants to be functional). NB by mechanic I am referring the approach to mathematical problem solving, not the profession of auto repair. I am not disparaging the intelligence of auto repair workers. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

## Recommended Posts

## Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.