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Pre-reqs for Mathematics: A Human Endeavor?

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My kids always work simultaneously through two different math curricula.  Right now, Peter is starting chapter 5 of AOPS pre-algebra and will be finishing up the Hands on Equations Word Problems book in the next few days.  Both of these resources are providing him with a good level of challenge - not too easy, not too hard.


He will be continuing AOPS Pre-A, but I am trying to decide what new resource to start to replace HOE.  I have on hand: Mathematics: A Human Endeavor, Zaccaro's Real World Algebra, and Math Mammoth Algebra.  I am also open to other ideas.


Ideally, I am looking for something that will challenge him, get him thinking about math in new ways, and set the stage for him to thrive in AOPS Algebra when he gets there.


The MM Algebra is just practice worksheets, no instruction, but I could easily teach him the concepts, and I have no doubt that he would grasp them quickly.  While I would certainly prefer something less teacher intensive (and more fun), it does seem to cover a lot material that he has never seen before like sets, graphing linear equations and factoring polynomials.  These are all things I would like him to encounter before he gets to them in AOPS.


The Real World Algebra actually looks pretty easy, perhaps easier than the Hands on Equations word problems.  We would probably only do the "Einstein Level" problems.  I do like how it explicitly teaches problem solving techniques and shows lots of examples of how to properly write math solutions, but it doesn't really seem like it would be teaching him anything new.


I'm having a hard time getting a feel for the difficulty level of Mathematics: A Human Endeavor.  Is algebra a pre-req?  Glancing through I see graphing and factorials and sine curves, but like with MM, I could teach him necessary concepts as we came to them.  I might have to tear out the title page with the subtitle "A Book for Those Who Think They Don't Like the Subject".  Peter loves math, and I think he would be intrigued by some of the interesting applications explored in the book...but we could also hold off and use it simultaneously with AOPS algebra.


What do you think?  Which would you use?  Or is there something else I should look at?






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Perhaps, the Hard Math books by Ellison? I've been using the Elementary ones which have been plenty challenging. There's some easy stuff in there, but it goes quickly to more challenging. Sort of like remember this...then let's do this with what you know. 

Topics that were covered that may be of interest to you are base numbering systems, tesselations, cryptarihms, interesting extensions about primes, interesting explorations about distributive property and squares (but I remember seeing some of this in Beast at some point), modular arithmetic, combinatroics, interesting exploration of prime factorization,

He also does math topics you have familarity with but there is exploration into aspects of those topics that aren't generally seen in regular curricula. I've only seen that sort of discussion pop up in Beast. So it just explores math not normally covered which is something you totally have the luxury of doing because time is on your side.

We will likely get the next middle school level because it's been a good experience. Not sure which level you would like better though. My son is doing JA and wrapped up HOE recently so I would imagine he's a a similar level? My son gets plenty out of the elementary level and has worked about 1/2 way through. 

I also have Mathematics: A Human Endeavor which does not require algebra for it to be used. 


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I have Math: A Human Endeavor, and I think that it would work nicely for a child who's handling AoPS Prealgebra. There is something infectious about Harold Jacob's books; you can really tell that he loves math. His style is also so very appealing to young kids. He was a real hit in our house.


A couple other ideas for you, too: (I love teaching the pre-algebra year with a mishmash of resources!)


The MathCounts school handbook: free download of the 2017-18 version here. The WarmUps, Workouts, and Stretches are all good material, and they generally progress in order of difficulty. So just start at the beginning and work your way through them!


Competition Math for Middle School by Jason Batterson (an AoPS guy)...Just ignore the word "competition." It's a fat little book chock full of problems and full solutions to explore.  Problems are broken into chapters by topics: algebra (includes basic statistics), counting, probability, number theory, & geometry (so a lot like AoPS in general)

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DS started Mathematics: A Human Endeavor before Pre-Alg and finished it last week, together with 1st  chapter of AoPS Pre-Alg. I think it's a wonderful book and we are planning to buy more of Jacobs' maths this summer, especially Elementary Algebra and Geometry.


My kids like chess as an extra. Lots of maths involved. Maths in sports. It's amazing how much you can learn about maths by playing tennis or swimming. 

Cryptology and mental maths are a hit too. And recently we have started finance. Eldest DS likes analyses, so we will definitely continue.

Edited by rushhush08

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The pre-requisites for Mathematics - A Human Endeavor are the basic operations etc. that are part of elementary mathematics.  We used it instead of pre-algebra and then moved smoothly into Jacobs Algebra. 

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We did bits of it during a pre-pre algebra year and enjoyed it.

(Basically we meandered through various preA books for a year, as my dd was interested, before starting aops preA this year)

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