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Algebra 1 - Foerster or Jacobs?

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I have narrowed my decision to these two books. I like that Jacobs has a pre-algebra review. I like that Foester has lots word problems. I was wondering of these two which one has clearer step by step explanations. Math is a struggle for my student. She can do it, but struggles applying concepts and needs something that has very clear instructions and explanations of why you do each step. 

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I was leaning towards Jacobs. The only thing that is giving me a bit of hesitation is that one of the reviews that I read said that it is more of a discovery based method. I like those type of methods for teaching, but my daughter dislikes that method. She wants clear concise directions with lots of examples problems. 

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My DD used Jacobs through Veritas and it is a thorough program. It is discovery based. I have foresters and We do word problems from that. Out of the two, I highly recommend Foresters for its clear step by step explanations. Very doable. Jacobs not so much explanations. You learn doing the problem set.

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I was leaning towards Jacobs. The only thing that is giving me a bit of hesitation is that one of the reviews that I read said that it is more of a discovery based method. I like those type of methods for teaching, but my daughter dislikes that method. She wants clear concise directions with lots of examples problems. 

Both ds and I like clear concise directions with lots of example problems.  Foerster's was terrific.  We tried Jacob's for Geometry, and it was a disaster.  Verbose is one was to describe it, imo.

 

Here is my review of Foerster's:

 

We used Foerster’s Algebra in 8th grade after completing MUS Algebra (easy) and LoF Algebra (challenging).  With 20/20 hindsight, I wish I had done something different for 7th grade, perhaps MUS Algebra and Patty Paper Geometry.  I was able to obtain the 1999 student book and 1999 teacher book used.  I purchased the solutions manual new through Prentice Hall.

 

Pros:

  • Clear, easy to understand explanations
  • Explicit, step-by-step working through problems
  • Sufficient practice and continual review of concepts
  • Clear building upon and relationships between concepts
  • Explicit demonstration of how to apply concepts to word problems
  • Challenging, real-life word problems
  • Solutions manual provides worked out solutions for every problem
  • Solid preparation for ACT/SAT, sciences, college level math
  • Amusing names in many word problems:  Moe Delaune, Mary Thon, Fran Tick, etc.
  • Math Without Borders DVDs available

 

Cons:

  • None

 

Here is an example from Foerster’s Chapter 6 on the Quadratic Formula:

In Foerster's Chapter 6 they teach the quadratic formula. That's

x = [-b +- sqrt(b2-4ac)]/2a

(not easy to type here)

Within this chapter, they teach the vertical motion formula: d = rt - 5t(squared)

They have a section with 12 problems. The TM says to take 2 days to do these problems, but only do 3 problems a day. Here is the first one:

Football problem - A football is kicked into the air with an initial upward velocity of 25 meters per second (m/sec).

a. Calculate it's height after 2 seconds; 3 seconds

b. When will it be 20 meters above the ground?

c. Copy the diagram. Show the answers to part (a) in relationship to the 20 meters of part b.

d. When will the ball hit the ground?

 

We used 1999 student and teacher text. The solution manual was from the publisher and it had no date on it.  It worked fine.

 

student 020132458X

teacher 0201324598

solution 0201861003

 

FWIW - I have a degree in math and ds is math-oriented.

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I have narrowed my decision to these two books.... Math is a struggle for my student. She can do it, but struggles applying concepts and needs something that has very clear instructions and explanations of why you do each step. 

I am curious as to why you won't consider Lial?  I have never used it, but have seen many positive reviews of it.  I suspect that it would be easier for a math struggler than either Foerster or Jacob, but still a solid Algebra program unlike some others I could mention but won't...

 

Edited by Sue in St Pete

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If she's that opposed to discovery flavor I'd lean toward Lial before Foerster. My struggler was also severely ADHD and Lial's format did not work for him at all. Another DC really enjoyed Lial and did well with it though. It's enjoyable to read (if you like math that is..lol), breaks concepts down into baby steps, has examples and sample problems as you go, and loads of exercises. We only did half of Lial's problems, and occasionally less than that. For a kid that needs more review there are plenty of practice problems. You only need the student text and solutions manual. Old editions are dirt cheap; just make sure the pictures on the covers match.

 

Foerster is fabulous! My rising senior used it and a younger sibling is using it now. It really depends on the kid. It might as well have been AoPS for my particular struggler.

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I have Lial. When my daughter looked at it before she thought the pages were too busy and distracting. She doesn't like a lot of color on pages. She likes simple straightforward pages. She doesn't learn new material well from Life of Fred, but they are great books to review. She won't let me sell any of the ones she has finished because she has sentimental attachment to them. 😀

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CLE Algebra came in yesterday. I got it for a Friend's DS. I am really surprised at how thorough it is. It has extemely clear steps, spiral review and good word problems. You can supplement it with Forester word problems or Zacarro's if you want to add more. But It looks pretty sufficient.

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I have Lial. When my daughter looked at it before she thought the pages were too busy and distracting. She doesn't like a lot of color on pages. She likes simple straightforward pages. She doesn't learn new material well from Life of Fred, but they are great books to review. She won't let me sell any of the ones she has finished because she has sentimental attachment to them. 😀

 

If she doesn't like busy distracting pages, consider A Fresh Approach -- decent-sized sample available on the author's website. All black and white, many problems but not the spray of different color boxes and historical tidbits common in many math books now. It also fits your clear directions with many practice problems. 

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If your child would benefit from daily review of past concepts, then I would recommend Jacobs. Set 1 in every lesson is a review. I tried Foerster's with my oldest, and while the teaching was great, the edition I had did not include any review, so she had forgotten quite a bit when the time came for the midterm exam. I bought and immediately sold A Fresh Approach for the same issue - blew through new concepts with no review of previous chapters anywhere.

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 I tried Foerster's with my oldest, and while the teaching was great, the edition I had did not include any review, so she had forgotten quite a bit when the time came for the midterm exam. I bought and immediately sold A Fresh Approach for the same issue - blew through new concepts with no review of previous chapters anywhere.

The TM for Foerster suggests which problems to do for the current topic and which problems to do from previous sections for review. 

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The TM for Foerster suggests which problems to do for the current topic and which problems to do from previous sections for review. 

 

Sue, if I may ask, what did you use with your son for Algebra 2 and beyond? I appreciate you sharing your BTDT experience with all of us!

 

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Ds started at CC with Intermediate Algebra in 10th grade.  Had I continued math with him, I probably would have stuck with Foerster.  But no BTDT experience with it. I've also seen positive reviews of Larson.

Edited by Sue in St Pete
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The TM for Foerster suggests which problems to do for the current topic and which problems to do from previous sections for review. 

 

The TM that goes with this version does not. It assigns problems from the previous day's section, but that is it. It does not have a steady review of problems from previous chapters. A teacher can page through the book and randomly assign something, or come up with a schedule on their own, but it is not built into the textbook or TM like it is with Jacobs. Perhaps it is included in more recent versions.

 

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Ds started at CC with Intermediate Algebra in 10th grade.  Had I continued math with him, I probably would have stuck with Foerster.  But no BTDT experience with it. I've also seen positive reviews of Larson.

 

Thank you for this.

 

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The TM that goes with this version does not. It assigns problems from the previous day's section, but that is it. It does not have a steady review of problems from previous chapters. A teacher can page through the book and randomly assign something, or come up with a schedule on their own, but it is not built into the textbook or TM like it is with Jacobs. Perhaps it is included in more recent versions.

Oops.  I stand corrected.  It's been quite a few years since I used that text.

 

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