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elmerRex

If Beast Academy/Art of Problem Solving was a Bad Fit Please Tell Me Why?

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If these books were not a good fit for your AL students, then please tell me why?

Please say what books and levels you used at what age so that it is clear.

Thank you.

 

 

Edited by elmerRex
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I would like to know about the cases where Beast Academy/Art of Problem Solving books were bad fits for your student.

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Didn't you ask this as two separate questions about a week ago?  I thought you got quite a few answers then.   If they weren't what you were looking for, maybe more details of why you are asking would help you get the answers you need?

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I suggested OP post over here for AoPS experiences more relevant to younger, accelerated learners.  As far as I can tell, the child is around 8 y.o. and has worked in Saxon algebra 1.

 

OP, you might get more targeted explanations if you elaborate on your student's current situation and needs.  For example, whether you already finished Saxon Algebra 1 and how was that experience, whether you're looking for a full program or just supplemental ones, whether you're in a "holding pattern" regarding more acceleration, etc.  Most especially, you might get some great suggestions for alternatives if you determine that AoPS is not a fit at this time.

 

ETA, some old threads:

 

those using AoPS with young kids...(my ramblings)

Adding "Cute" to AOPS (or Balancing Rigor and Fun with a Young Student)

Help me find a good Algebra 1 book to supplement Saxon (not AoPS)

If you haven't liked AoPS math pls tell me why...& other AoPS ?s

Earliest Age someone has successfully started AoPS?

For those doing algebra with younger students

how we're using AoPS with a young child (8yo)

Young kids and AoPS

 

More generally, for fleshing out short-term and long-term math education goals, I'd also consider:

Tell me why I'm wrong about math (Ruth's thoughts especially)

Rusczyk's problem solving talk at the 2009 Math Prize for Girls (transcript, video) or his shorter article, The Calculus Trap

 

Also note that the Intro to Algebra text goes beyond algebra 1.

Edited by wapiti
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Didn't you ask this as two separate questions about a week ago?  I thought you got quite a few answers then.   If they weren't what you were looking for, maybe more details of why you are asking would help you get the answers you need?

 

Someone asked me to make this question here in this section also so I did.

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I'm crossing my fingers that AoPS is a good fit here, because I've paid an arm and a leg to get a book to Australia. Still waiting for it to arrive ... I know these things take time, but I'm getting a bit antsy.

 

So I can't tell you yet if it's a good fit or not, but I can tell you why I'm willing to pay so much to try it.

 

My 10yr old is very intuitive with maths and really needs to know the why behind things. She won't tolerate being shown how and then practice ten of them style stuff.

She's breezing through the Australian curriculum and is currently working on grade 10 maths, so that's 5 years ahead of where she'd be if she was in school. 

But I'm in no rush for her to reach the end and I'd like to head deeper and broader and spend more time puzzling things out with her and deducing the 'why' behind things.

 

I really hope that AoPS does this for us.

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I going to attempt to discuss the elephant in the room. Can you actually get an equivalent math education using a different program?  AoPS is considered the most rigorous program, yet it also has a discovery element that some kids don't like.  If you kid doesn't like AoPS, is it worth fighting for?  Because IF the program teaches something that all other programs don't AND you think what it teaches is valuable for your kid to learn, then of course, yes, you should fight for it.  But if it doesn't OR if you don't think it is valuable, than no, you should pass and do something that is a 'better fit.'

 

The problem with the above is that there are 3 different issues all muddled up:

1) Does AoPS teach something you can't get elsewhere?

2) Is the discovery element critical to that teaching?

3) Do you as the parent think it is something your child should learn?

 

I don't know if I'm in a unique position to evaluate these issues, but I do have 3 different perspectives -- the math education of myself and two boys. First, I have a PhD in computational biology.  I used math as a tool to answer both applied and theoretical questions in population dynamics.  I did 4 years of daily mathematical modelling to get my answer.  I did not use AoPS as a kid obviously -- I think I used Jacobs for Algebra. I also failed the last math test I ever took because I had to come up with something to prove and prove it.  Way too theoretical for me. However, I can and did use math to solve problems.  I have worked as a statistician and also helped 4 PhD's with their statistics. My research was published in the best journal in my field and is now referenced in 3 textbooks.

 

Second, my older boy has used AoPS completely independently from the age of 9.  He is already a mathematician in his own right.  A work colleague of my dh's lost the computer code for a golfing app he made and copyrighted 5 years ago, and asked my ds to retrofit the model given the output.  When I looked at the problem, I had no idea what to do. It was just a serious mess of 10 pages of printouts.  DS studied the data and within an hour was able to recognize that there was a rounding error that left a piecewise function that was in mod 18, apparently something that certain programming languages do.  This meant that without more data, the function could not be retrofitted.  In another example, recently my ds was helping my younger boy with a simple scratch program to identify the factors of numbers. The program was taking forever to run, so ds got really excited to increase its speed.  He started reprogramming the prime number identifying portion of the program to make it more efficient. But it still was not going as fast as he wanted it to, so he looked online only to find out that he had independently discovered a prime number sieve that he had never studied before.  This is clearly a differently type of math than the math I did, because I can't do it.  And it is not because I have not taken classes in it.  It is NOT related to mathematical content but rather to problem solving.

 

Finally, my younger boy is quite skilled in mathematics, topping the IQ quantitative subtest he took in January. He does not wish to be a mathematician, and finds math to be incredibly frustrating because it is about *coding* rather than intuition, where he shines.  He makes great leaps, but does not have the patience to do the steady, linear work to learn the content, and he does not have the persistence to do hard core problem solving.  We have decided that he is likely to go into a math related field, like IT or economics, but that he will be like me and use math as a tool.  This means that he needs to have a very strong foundation in math content, and be able to use math in an applied sense, however he does not need theoretical content, nor does he need to invent math.

 

Ok, so given these three examples let me answer my three questions.

 

1) Does AoPS teach something that you can't get elsewhere?  Obviously, there are and always have been theoretical problem solving mathematicians long before AoPS; clearly, Quark's son has accomplished this on his own through study and all his crowd sourced maths research.   However, I do believe that AoPS is the most efficient way to get there. Here is a program that you can buy, that is well laid out, that is linear so you work through it step by step, and that teaches you incrementally over a period of 5 or more years.  I say GREAT!

 

2) Is the discovery element critical to that teaching? I say yes.  The discovery element is the piece that teaches you *how* to solve problems like my ds can.  If you teach AoPS directly, then you are only teaching content with a hint of problem solving.  The discovery approach is why AoPS is so efficient.  Not efficient in teaching the *content* which obviously you could learn so much faster with a direct teaching style, but I do believe it is the most efficient way to teach hard core problems solving.  I can problem solve, but I am just not in the same league as my ds.  No where close.

 

3) Do you as the parent think it is something your child should learn? Clearly, my answer here is NO.  I do not think it is worth the headache and frustration to have my younger son battle his way through AoPS.  If I thought it was *that* important, it would be a hill for me to die on.  I have those hills, but AoPS is not one of them.  The implication is that my ds will not be able to do certain jobs that my older boy will be able to do.  But my younger boy does not *want* to do those jobs.  My younger boy is interested in being a leader, IT project manager or a strategist.  His math will be strong, his problem solving will be good.  However, he does not need what my older son needs.

 

So to conclude this very long post, your child is young so you have time.  I think you need to really consider my third point and decide if it is a hill you want to die on.  And if so, you need to carefully and with lots of encouragement, work your way through the series.  And keep in mind that my older boy took almost 3 years to get through AoPS Intro Algebra from age 9 to almost 12.  He invented algebra at age 6, clearly I could have *taught* him the material then.  So why did the Algebra book take so long?  Because he was learning the problem solving, and it is not something you can rush.

 

Hope this helps you and others,

 

Ruth in NZ

Edited by lewelma
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I suggested OP post over here for AoPS experiences more relevant to younger, accelerated learners.  As far as I can tell, the child is around 8 y.o. and has worked in Saxon algebra 1.

 

OP, you might get more targeted explanations if you elaborate on your student's current situation and needs.  For example, whether you already finished Saxon Algebra 1 and how was that experience, whether you're looking for a full program or just supplemental ones, whether you're in a "holding pattern" regarding more acceleration, etc.  Most especially, you might get some great suggestions for alternatives if you determine that AoPS is not a fit at this time.

 

Thank you for helpful links. Our math programme looks like this:

 

Eldest is in Year 3 now and others are in Year 2 and Year 1.

 

Year 1: We do Math 54 and Math 65 in one year. We do Math 54 and 65 this way--parent explains the section and goes over lesson problems with the students then the kids do the Saxon work --every problem, every time, every day. Parent checks and student corrections are made write away. Student writes answers in notebook and grows a math book.

 

We give 1-3 word problems a day also and include more topics from Hard Math for Elementary Students for interests. Kid does local math contest for experience.

 

In summer after Math 65 kids do as much of Saxon Algebra as they can (so far about 95 lessons) orally and/or with the white board.  This is gentle enough for early years and sets a great foundation. Kids study abacus/anzan.

 

Year 2: We do full program of Math in Focus for 1 year: Child uses Textbook, Activities, Enrichment, and for gradual review we use Extra Practice, Reteach and Assessments. Child does extra topics from Hard Math for Elementary Students for their interests and finishes Saxon Algebra 1.

 

In summer, students have abacus/anzan and word problems every day.

 

Year 3: We have decisions to make. My oldest is not having a productive maths year because we do not know what to do. We are doing random topics based on interests but it is not a daily, gradual thing.

 

We could....

  • Continue geometry and special interest topics. Very time intense and unpredictable.
  • get next two levels of Math in Focus. I can not find this course as PDF and the full program of MiF is expensive, but it is easy with the Saxon foundation and the MiF format is perfect for young child. MiF is easy on parent to teach and easy for child to read and study with. Many components make it expensive but the child can master all the material and can work alone many days.
  • We could get Saxon Algebra 2, but child would need parent to be teacher daily because the format is not easy to self study.
  • We could buy series from country with good maths education programme.
  • We could buy AoPS books.

 

Year 3 is the first serious year for us and it's not okay for student to not study maths.

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Year 2: We do full program of Math in Focus for 1 year: Child uses Textbook, Activities, Enrichment, and for gradual review we use Extra Practice, Reteach and Assessments. Child does extra topics from Hard Math for Elementary Students for their interests and finishes Saxon Algebra 1.

 

In summer, students have abacus/anzan and word problems every day.

 

Year 3: We have decisions to make. My oldest is not having a productive maths year because we do not know what to do. We are doing random topics based on interests but it is not a daily, gradual thing.

 

That's what I figured.  You have come to the right place for ideas!  I will try to find some threads; in particular, I recall an old, long thread by quark that had lots of possible resources to use in this situation - I'll add the links if I can find them.

 

To be clear, your "year 3" is 8 years old?  Or 9?  Are you in the US?  How are the child's English language skills?

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I do not think it's important for primary age children to train like professional mathematicians, but I do want my children to be able to be on competitive level with other children in our home country by end of year 3.

 

 

That's what I figured.  You have come to the right place for ideas!  I will try to find some threads; in particular, I recall an old, long thread by quark that had lots of possible resources to use in this situation - I'll add the links if I can find them.

 

To be clear, your "year 3" is 8 years old?  Or 9?  Are you in the US?  How are the child's English language skills?

Yes, we are in the US and year 3 is 8 years old. His English grammar is better than mine. Has good reading and vocabulary but not good with comprehending long sentences of explanation in a book.
 

Edited by elmerRex

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I do not think it's important for primary age children to train like professional mathematicians, but I do want my children to be able to be on competitive level with other children in our home country by end of year 3.

 

You would need to refer to competition materials from your home country to get an idea for those levels.  Your oldest completed algebra 1 by age 8.  That is 7 years before average students in the US and probably 4-5 years before most advanced students in the US usually take that course.  You have also been using Hard Math for Elementary School, which presumably introduces some depth at the elementary level. This may be a good year to go sideways/deeper and not to progress further into the high school courses yet, in other words, a good year to work on some kind of problem solving at the elementary, prealgebra and/or algebra 1 levels and to study extra topics as it sounds like you have been doing.

 

That may feel odd, without a program to march through, but that is ok.

 

What about your child?  Does he love math?  Enjoy it?  Merely tolerate it?  What challenges him?  What parts does he avoid or drag his feet?  What does he think about challenging problems at elementary levels - does he like the Hard Math book?

 

Other problem solving books:

 

The Cleo Borac books

Competition Math for Middle School by Batterson (aops)

Books to read, e.g. Murderous Maths

MOEMS (Math Olympiad Contest Problems, Volume 2 (REVISED),  MOEMS Contest Problems, Volume 3 (Division E & M) )

 

This is where the quark resources post comes in handy (I found it right there in her signature - thanks quark!).  And the relaxed math thread.

Edited by wapiti
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Thanks wapiti!

 

Year 3: We have decisions to make. My oldest is not having a productive maths year because we do not know what to do. We are doing random topics based on interests but it is not a daily, gradual thing.

 

[...]

 

Year 3 is the first serious year for us and it's not okay for student to not study maths.

 

That thread that wapiti linked (the one in my signature) came at about a similar time. DS had finished algebra I at 8 years old (Dolciani) as well as some AoPS Intro to Algebra 1 for challenge/ review and had just turned 9. We had already been going "sideways" with many of those resources and if you read that thread you'll see that I was thankful but also reporting how many of those resources had already been or were being enjoyed so a good number were not very new to him. We do math in strands with a very enjoyable strand or two straddling some of the more work/thinking-heavy resources. After I wrote that thread, DS moved on to Jurgensen, started Honors Physics (a great way for him to further apply the algebra I concepts) and continued working on fun math resources at other times.

 

Good luck figuring out what to do!
 

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