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# Dolciani 1970 and flow charts

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Has anyone taught the "flowcharts" in 1970 Dolciani Algebra Structure and Method? Is English Major Mom crazy to attempt it?

I think I need to make a decision on Algebra in the next few weeks. I had dc do Derek Owens PreAlgebra as a review and as a transition into doing math complete with tests and homework, starting about a month ago, and she's taking the midterm this week.  Looking ahead, I might get another month out of PreAlgebra. She's young. I've been stalling for maturity, and I think we're there.

She really likes puzzley logic problems, so I pulled out the 1970 Dolciani Structure and Method (which I worked through parts of 2-3 years ago), and it looks like it could be a really good fit.

The flow charts have me a little stumped. Are they sort of "pre-proofs? Can anyone point me to any resources for these? It seems a shame to skip them, they are so unique.

It seems like old Dolciani was a discussed a lot on the boards 2 years ago or so (we've been playing with PreA about that long, so I've been reading up on Algebra for... too long), but now I see it less. Is there a homeschool-friendly heir to these books? Has everyone moved on to something else?

I also have Jacobs (she's done 3 chapters, and isn't terribly excited to continue)

I have Foerster, with a copy of the TE. I've worked through about half of it. I'm not sure it's a good fit, though.

I had hoped she would want to continue with Derek Owens (woo hoo- a subject not taught by me!), but the cost is pretty high. She really likes his Physical Science, but wants to know why, why, why on the math for PreAlgebra, so I don't think that the math is ideal unless his algebra (which is based on new Dolciani?) digs in more than the PreAlgebra. Can anyone comment on his Algebra vs. his PreAlgebra?

We did the logic chapter in an older Dolciani PreAlgebra book 2 years ago, and she really liked it.

Thanks for your thoughts!

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Has anyone taught the "flowcharts" in 1970 Dolciani Algebra Structure and Method? Is English Major Mom crazy to attempt it?

<snip>

The flow charts have me a little stumped. Are they sort of "pre-proofs? Can anyone point me to any resources for these? It seems a shame to skip them, they are so unique.

It seems like old Dolciani was a discussed a lot on the boards 2 years ago or so (we've been playing with PreA about that long, so I've been reading up on Algebra for... too long), but now I see it less. Is there a homeschool-friendly heir to these books? Has everyone moved on to something else?

WRT "what has everyone moved on to", I'm guessing that a lot of the people interested in old Dolciani books moved on to the Art of Problem Solving (AoPS) books.  Those books are trying to do the same thing - "proofy math" - but are easier to find, with a lot more supports.

WRT the flow charts, it's programming, basically.  We did similar things in my honors math class - telling a computer how to solve a math problem requires you to make *all* the steps explicit and in the right order.  It's one of the hard things about learning to program - to find all the hidden assumptions you are making, and make them explicit, because the computer will only do what you *tell* it to do, even when that's not what you *want* it to do ;).  And when you tell a computer how to do math, it makes you think through *all* the steps and how they fit together - no assumptions allowed.  They are kind of pre-proofs, in the sense that it's practice getting from point A to point B without leaving any holes in the steps.  Programming is *very* logical.

I like them, and I'd do them, but they make sense to me (I was a computer engineering major back in the day).  I'm not sure how to learn them other than to just read the instructions and *do* them, comparing your answers to the answers in the back.  Or snag a programmer to walk you through a few, either in person or here - I've got the book and others here probably do, too.  Or mess around with some of the learn-to-program apps out there to learn the basic approach to that sort of thinking.  Or if your dd is good with logic, she might be able to figure them out on her own.  It's good to have someone to check over it, though, because people tend to miss steps at first without realizing it.

It's the math/logic equivalent of those "how-to" paragraphs my elementary school had us write: tell how to tie your shoe, for example, and the teacher would show hidden assumptions by following the directions as written *exactly* ;), so that she'd hit snags whenever the directions were wrong or incomplete, making it clear to people what they'd left out or described wrong.  The first few practice ones have you following their flow chart before making your own - the basic idea is that you do *exactly* what it says.  No assumptions, no hopping ahead, just *exactly* as written.  (Like following the IRS instructions to do your taxes, but mercifully more comprehensible ;).)  And at least in my copy, the first one refers back to a problem given a little more traditionally, so if you understand the problem first, then you can focus on just figuring out how to understand the flow chart from.

Any of that help?

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As far as I can tell, the Dolciani book uses the standard flowchart symbols, and looking online, there are lots of guides on how to make flowcharts (I googled "how to flowchart" and "learn to program through flowcharts").  I found this link: Introduction to Programming through Flowcharts, which might be helpful.  People use flowcharts for far more than just programming, too - it might help if you looked at how to make flowcharts in an area that's familiar to you.  (A lot of the "how to flowchart" links seem to assume you understand the basic thinking involved in your field and just need to learn how to express that thinking in flowchart form.)

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As far as I can tell, the Dolciani book uses the standard flowchart symbols, and looking online, there are lots of guides on how to make flowcharts (I googled "how to flowchart" and "learn to program through flowcharts").  I found this link: Introduction to Programming through Flowcharts, which might be helpful.  People use flowcharts for far more than just programming, too - it might help if you looked at how to make flowcharts in an area that's familiar to you.  (A lot of the "how to flowchart" links seem to assume you understand the basic thinking involved in your field and just need to learn how to express that thinking in flowchart form.)

Thanks!

This is all super helpful. Since I know I looking at it from a programming standpoint, it makes a little more sense. I have the complete answer key (but not solutions), I think this will be great for the remainder of the year, regardless of what we do next year.

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• 4 months later...

Just a follow up... We got to those sections, dd said, "Hey, this looks like Scratch! It reminds me of those essays where you have to give a steps how to open a refrigerator door."

So no worries on those...

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Don't spend more than one day on them.

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Don't spend more than one day on them.

We spent about 10 minutes- she was beyond them. It's funny how I was worried over something so trivial just because it looked different.

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Don't spend more than one day on them.

Also, I think it was you on another thread talking about precalc options. I received Brown Advanced Mathematics TE and Dolciani Modern Analysis in the last few days. The Brown looks very teacher friendly, but the Dolciani is so much more engaging.

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