# whole to parts algebra xpost

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Is there an algebra program that is more whole to parts: starting with problems and then breaking down the skills? We are about half way through Jacobs Algebra, but I'm curious what else is out there.

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Jacobs is the program that I would say I've seen that's by far the most whole to parts with algebra. I also found Hands on Equations to be that way, but it's not a full algebra program, more like a beginning algebraic thinking program for any time before students take algebra I.

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39 minutes ago, mymommy1 said:

Is there an algebra program that is more whole to parts: starting with problems and then breaking down the skills? We are about half way through Jacobs Algebra, but I'm curious what else is out there.

I don't have a program, but I do a lot of "guess and check" type work with algebra before we jump into the algorithmic stuff and we also do LOTS of works with equations and simplifying expressions. I've found it helpful.

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Posted (edited)

Possibly Math-U-See...?

While I wouldn't say MUS is completely whole-to-parts,  it is not parts-to-whole, either. MUS visibly/tangibly shows the why behind each concept with the manipulatives, and often whole-to-part learners also have a need for that concrete instruction and to tangibly "see" the abstract concepts of algebra. MUS could be used as supplement to Jacobs. And if your student did not need to actually handle the manipulatives, watching the lesson videos of the instructor demonstrating with the manipulatives might be enough added "tangibility" to help with the whole-to-parts learning need, while keeping down the price of adding a supplement to your high school maths.

Just as a side note:

I had a STRONGLY visual-spatial learner in DS#2 who was also strongly needed whole-to-parts style of presenting concepts. We did Hands-On Equations back in late elementary with him to establish that visual understanding of balancing equations and solving for X. He started Algebra 1 in 9th grade with Jacobs, and did okay (although we had to give up on the early chapter on linear equations -- he just could not click with it). I felt he was still shaky with the concepts, so in 10th grade we re-did Algebra 1 with MUS; it was mostly review and he clicked more solidly by re-doing with a different program -- so both Jacobs AND MUS were needed for this child. The MUS Algebra 1 only took 1 semester, and he flew through Geometry in the 2nd semester of 10th grade. (Geometry, even the proofs, are so much more VISUAL that it tends to click well for those students who struggled with Algebra concepts.)

Just sharing, FWIW. BEST of luck in finding what best helps your student learn Algebra! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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1 hour ago, mymommy1 said:

Is there an algebra program that is more whole to parts: starting with problems and then breaking down the skills? We are about half way through Jacobs Algebra, but I'm curious what else is out there.

I don't have a solid understanding of "whole to parts" but the bolded description does remind me of teaching with math contests. I had a student on my MathCounts team who hated math curricula of any kind.  He learned by studying the problems and my explaining how to solve them.  Three years of MathCounts with increasingly harder problems can approximately equate to pre-algebra, algebra, geometry and probability, or at least is good enough.

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21 minutes ago, daijobu said:

I don't have a solid understanding of "whole to parts" but the bolded description does remind me of teaching with math contests. I had a student on my MathCounts team who hated math curricula of any kind.  He learned by studying the problems and my explaining how to solve them.  Three years of MathCounts with increasingly harder problems can approximately equate to pre-algebra, algebra, geometry and probability, or at least is good enough.

I was definitely like that, and I'm leaning doing something like that with DD9 starting this year for a bit...

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5 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

I don't have a program, but I do a lot of "guess and check" type work with algebra before we jump into the algorithmic stuff and we also do LOTS of works with equations and simplifying expressions. I've found it helpful.

I do that. This child wants to know what the individual skills are used for. Usually, I can look ahead in the book and show him, but it would be nice to have another source.

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5 hours ago, Lori D. said:

Possibly Math-U-See...?

While I wouldn't say MUS is completely whole-to-parts,  it is not parts-to-whole, either. MUS visibly/tangibly shows the why behind each concept with the manipulatives, and often whole-to-part learners also have a need for that concrete instruction and to tangibly "see" the abstract concepts of algebra. MUS could be used as supplement to Jacobs.

Thanks! I used MUS for another child, so I'll look at it again.

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1 hour ago, mymommy1 said:

I do that. This child wants to know what the individual skills are used for. Usually, I can look ahead in the book and show him, but it would be nice to have another source.

Which individual skills do you mean? I'm sorry -- I've never really taught algebra in little bits, so I'm actually genuinely not sure.

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1 minute ago, Not_a_Number said:

Which individual skills do you mean? I'm sorry -- I've never really taught algebra in little bits, so I'm actually genuinely not sure.

As an example, he is on the chapter of operations with algebraic fractions. I know he needs to have those skills to solve equations with algebraic fractions, but they don't come for 3-4 more chapters. (Also, limits and derivatives, which is what we talked about today ) He'd like to see the equations or word problems first.

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1 minute ago, mymommy1 said:

As an example, he is on the chapter of operations with algebraic fractions. I know he needs to have those skills to solve equations with algebraic fractions, but they don't come for 3-4 more chapters. (Also, limits and derivatives, which is what we talked about today ) He'd like to see the equations or word problems first.

What level of algebra are you doing, if you're getting into limits or derivatives? 😄

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3 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

What level of algebra are you doing, if you're getting into limits or derivatives? 😄

He is in Algebra 1, but since the question in Jacobs asked what was happening to the ratios as the variable got larger, I told him about limits.  That's the kind of thing he'd like to know about even if he can't do all the manipulation yet.

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8 hours ago, mymommy1 said:

He is in Algebra 1, but since the question in Jacobs asked what was happening to the ratios as the variable got larger, I told him about limits.  That's the kind of thing he'd like to know about even if he can't do all the manipulation yet.

Honestly, if that’s the kind of thing that motivates him, maybe starting him in later chapters and filling in gaps as you go is a good idea?

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Yes, I think I'll do that.

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