Friday, March 23, 2007
This is a book that accidentally fell into my hands last year. I perused through the beginning and found myself hooked. I want to assign it as summer reading for my entering 8th graders. It has caused me to think of a way to package algebra as a set of rules for a game or puzzle, instead of trying to force so-called "real world problems" out of some of the concepts. Here are two reviews from Amazon:
The Phi Delta Kappan, Feb 1998
It's a remarkable little book by Kenn Amdahl, a poet and former math-phobe and Jim Loats, a math professor. Be advised that Algebra Unplugged does not take the approach that your high school math teacher and textbook took. It certainly answers some basic questions differently. Amdahl and Loats cover pretty much all the topics of first-year algebra and a great deal of earlier math that many kids don't really have a grip on. And they do it all in just 258 pages of remarkably readable and often hilarious text.
Appraisal-Science Books for Young Adults
Sometimes, despite endless explanations by teachers and dozens of homework assignments, students don't always grasp algebra. Some ask for help, others turn to books, hoping that one will explain things in language they can understand. This may be the book they are looking for. Explanations are short, humorous, and non technical. The authors convinced this reviewer that there is value in sneaking up on a potentially intimidating subject in this way, although I was not so sure at the beginning.