Elementary Algebra 0th Edition
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- Item Weight : 3.58 pounds
- Hardcover : 876 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0716710471
- ISBN-13 : 978-0716710479
- Product Dimensions : 8 x 1.15 x 9.42 inches
- Publisher : W. H. Freeman; 0th Edition (January 1, 1979)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #447,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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It's so important to prevent/remove the overwhelm and make things crystal clear. This book is constantly throwing obstacles to that goal with its bizarre order of mixing skills from late-year into early lessons and driving both students and parents crazy (even the prodigy in my class). Not to mention this teacher! They're not difficult for me, obviously, but I am totally frustrated with the ridiculous order in which skills are covered, the often poorly-written word problems right at the beginning (and throughout), and the ugly box-and-dot drawings that aren't always even set up well. When introducing a new concept, bizarre permutations are often thrown in, long before a foundation for these has been laid. (Although I have experience teaching algebra both concretely and abstractly, I even find myself looking at some of these twice to see what they mean--some are very poorly done.)
The layout itself, as a concept, has a couple good points, most notably lots of practice sets at varying levels of difficulty. This is probably the single strong point of the book. (The humor is also appreciated...and much-needed when dealing with this book.) The layout as *labeled,* however, is confusing to many. I end up teaching both students and parents how it's laid out because of their use of numbering. For example, a homework assignment may be Chapter 3, Lesson 1, Set 2. Simply using letters for the homework sets would simplify this. Chapter 3, Lesson one is abbreviated Lesson 3.1, which is logical, and to simply add Set B would allow homework to be Lesson 3.1B. Instead, since every chapter is *numbered,* every lesson is *numbered,* & every homework set is *numbered* with Roman numerals (which can look like numbers 1 & 11), I constantly find students on the wrong page the first week or two. They may be in the wrong chapter, yet the correct lesson # and problem set #. One must constantly look at the bottom corner of *both* pages to see where you are, since neither page is fully labeled. A small point, but using numbers to subdivide numbered chapters adds to the problem. Have they never heard of outline form, which alternates numbers and letters for a reason? If only this small technical point were the worst of it!
I wouldn't even have mentioned the layout issue (a minor point, but confusing for many) if it weren't for the fact I felt compelled to address the sequencing issues. The reason these concern me so much is that when students struggle because of inappropriately-placed material, they can become discouraged over struggling with or missing those problems, when the fault actually lies with the textbook presenting it before they've laid a good foundation for it. Material should become progressively difficult throughout the year. Classic hotspot problems should not be mixed in from the get-go.
Strong students may fare well, as might those with a very involved parent or tutor and especially, being allowed to go at their own pace. Everyone else will be impacted by the ridiculous hard-easy-hard-easy-"whatisthisdoinghere" sequence of the lessons.
I can only think that those who have given this textbook good reviews have little experience with other algebra texts (two or three is not enough for good perspective)--or have the luxury of pacing as desired, and/or teaching only one-on-one (or have only very strong students who already know most of the book and can focus on the weird stuff). There are so many other algebra textbooks out there that are excellent. (I will say that those using a brand called Teaching Textbooks are unlikely to be well-prepared for this or most other Algebra 1 books.) Jacobs Elementary Algebra is hands-down the worst algebra textbook I have ever seen.
Each section concludes with four problem sets. The first set is a brief review of earlier topics (aside from the first five sections of the first chapter). The second covers the topics in the section. Jacobs provides answers to the problems in the second set in the back of the text, making the book suitable for self study. The third set is a variation on the second. The fourth set consists a puzzle or a problem that extends the concepts learned in the section. I particularly enjoyed these problems, often turning to them to see what Jacobs was asking before I finished the other problems. Each chapter concludes with a chapter summary and two sets of review problems.
Jacobs begins the text with a review of arithmetic, including the order of operations and properties of integers and rational numbers. He introduces algebraic concepts gradually as he does this. This leads to a discussion of functions, linear equations, lines, systems of linear equations, and exponents. Jacobs pauses for a midterm review. Then he covers polynomial, rational, and radical expressions and equations. He also discusses the properties of the real numbers, inequalities, and number sequences before finishing his text with a final review.
If you enjoy this text, and I think you will, you may wish to explore Jacobs' text Geometry: Seeing, Doing, Understanding next.
My son completed Singapore Math 1-6 & was ready to go straight into this book without a problem. I wish we'd started with it!