AIMS is a non-profit foundation “dedicated to helping teachers give students a solid conceptual understanding of math and science.”
We were asked to review Looking at Lines from the Algebraic Thinking Series. It has 232 pages covering 32 distinct hands-on activities, mostly using readily available household items. We received a hard copy of the book with a cd-rom containing all of the printables for the activities. Users have permission to print up to 200 copies of the activity sheets for educational purposes.
Each activity includes:
Who will benefit from AIMS Looking at Lines?
- Unschoolers who have curious students who want to pursue some hands-on math activities on this subject.
- Parents of homeschoolers ready grade-wise for a higher level math course, but not quite ready for a full algebra course developmentally (and there is nothing wrong with that!). This would be a way to build some solid foundational ideas and continue doing math, while at the same time, not rushing into a math course the student is not ready for yet.
- Younger students who need a challenge, but might not be ready to jump into a full algebra course. You could work on one of these activities a week as a supplement while completing their regular math course.
- Parents with hands-on learners who need some guidance in how to add hands-on learning to their math lessons.
- Parents of several mulit-age children who want to do some math activities together. While the stated grade level of Looking at Lines is grades 6-9, I really felt some of the basic experiments and concepts could be appreciated by lower level students. Older students could complete the actual graphs and problems, while younger students could help with carrying out the experiments and discussing them.
- Folks who like the unit study concept will find that the AIMS books fit well into that sort of teaching style. Have a blast picking out your next unit study from their extensive list of choices! They sell the manipulatives to support their books, too.
- Older students would benefit from this as a means to review key ideas by being in charge of completing the activities with their younger siblings. We all learn best by doing and teaching, don't we?
- Anyone teaching in a co-op setting would find this entire series of books ideal for that purpose. You can photocopy up to 200 copies of each experiment, not to mention the fact that the presentation method lines up perfectly with co-op settings.
- Private and public schools would find this product useful for the same reason.
- Tutors might find that this series would be an interesting addition to their repertoire and a welcome change from the straightforward practice of simply going over the student's regular classwork.
- If you don't like having to do class prep, then this would not be an ideal curriculum for you. I felt that a thorough reading of each experiment was needed to familiarize myself with the information, not to mention preparing the materials and handouts necessary for each experiement. It's not that it was really, really hard, but it did require some bucking down on the old algebraic thinking skills.
- If you have only one student, the prep time might be a limiting factor for you. For several students or a particularly needy student (someone who needs real life math as an encouragement), it would be all right, but it might be more work than the parent of one traditionally taught student wants to tackle on a regular basis...but how much fun it would be for a unit study!!
- Anyone who prefers a regular textbook method is not going to prefer this curriculum, though it wouldn't be a bad thing to throw in activities like this now and then in any curriculum!
- Anyone who feels their students need a lot of "drill and repeat" is not going to find that here. Most of these topics connect and develop each other in subtle ways, but you will not be re-covering the same territory repeatedly.
The price for Looking at Lines is $24.95 for the PDF version from the AIMS Store.
There are many more products available, and prices vary, so go check it out for yourself!
Watch some videos and download samples of activities to see how AIMS is "the right fit" for homeschoolers.
You can also check out other reviews of this product and others at the TOS Review Crew Blog.
Disclaimer: We recieved a paperback copy (plus disk) of Looking at Lines for the purposes of trying and reviewing this product. No other compensation was recieved.