When you hear the phrase Algebra for Breakfast you might giggle a little bit thinking about that mental picture. We’ve been reviewing both levels of the Algebra For Breakfast program with my middle school students who each struggle in their own way with math. My 6th grader is dyslexic and just needs to work more slowly through material with constant review, while my 8th grader is very mathematically minded and simply needs to gain confidence with “alphabet in my math homework,” as he says.
Algebra for Breakfast
Really, now that we’ve had a chance to look at and use this program for a little while, I understand what the title means. Algebra For Breakfast approaches math even at a young level from an algebraic mindset. That is to say, that as he teaches math to your 3/4th graders or your 5/6 graders, he teaches the basic concepts using language and ideas which come from algebra. Thus, when your student reaches the level of math that requires “the alphabet in my math homework,” they are already familiar with concepts and terminology so that the transition isn’t as scary for them.
It’s based around math manipulative blocks. The very first lesson for both levels talks about how things are “countable” or “uncountable,” and explains that the ridges on the math blocks makes them “countable.” What a beautiful way to set up the fact that things in algebra are NOT countable and make it less scary! The blocks he uses are similar to a set we have on hand, but they aren’t the sort you’ll find in the local teacher store. The website sells sets of these blocks, and you’ll need them to do the program.
Each level has Prep Activities to start. Level 3/4 has only 4 of these and level 5/6 has 8 of them. These consist of getting familiar with the Math Dice, which we also received with our review, consisting of three regular 6-sided dice and two 12-faced dice. There are games to be played with these, and instructions for the students to make their own flashcards. All of these skills are used and interspersed through the lessons, and my kids really enjoyed most of these activities! Because of the use of videos and activities, this curriculum supplement covers all of the learning styles.
The lessons for both levels are similar, but they aren’t the same. The instructional video itself is usually a video of the teacher in front of a live class of students. They range from about 5 minutes to maybe 10, and there’s usually a downloadable worksheet to go with the lesson. Each lesson also has a Parent video and/or an Introductory video. The Parent Corner is at the bottom of every page, and it has the answer key to the lesson worksheets. (Actually, I do wish the students didn’t have such easy access to this. I’d like to see a parent dashboard that keeps track of which lessons have been viewed, includes the parent videos, and keeps the answers secure.)
I’m thankful that Algebra For Breakfast is providing us the opportunity to get the review we need and provide the confidence in algebraic skills we’ve lacked in our math education. The games and manipulatives are fun to use and I’ve had no argument from my kids about using the program as we supplement our main curriculum. This one is a win at our house!
You can connect with Algebra for Breakfast on Facebook. Don’t forget to check out the other Crew reviews!