The Standard Deviants - Algebra, Part 1
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Making algebra entertaining seems like a hopeless, if not downright insane, task, but that doesn't stop the Standard Deviants. A youthful cast of performers, who believe no joke, skit, or costume is too corny as long as it helps a student remember something important, throw themselves into "The Adventurous World of College Algebra" by beginning with a spoof of "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Inside a cave, two Indiana Jones wannabes search for, you guessed it, x. Despite the lighthearted approach, this is a serious algebra review course, compiled under the direction of academic advisers. The lessons begin by answering, "What is algebra?" and quickly move into quadratic roots and factors and a section on linear equations. A wacky sense of humor stays a constant, with spoofs of pop culture programs as well as flashy computer graphics appearing to illustrate essential concepts. At the end of each lesson a quiz appears (which the student can take or skip), and the DVD also contains the "Algebra Adventure," a multiple choice test taken by using the DVD player's remote control. A "Quick Review" segment provides a fast overview of the contents. This is an innovative approach to what has often been a daunting and dry subject. --Robert J. McNamara
The Standard Deviants DVD contains the entire two-hour intensive algebra tutorial from the award-winning VHS version of the same name. In addition, this DVD features new footage not included in the VHS version, as well as an interactive component unparalleled in the DVD world. From a main menu, viewers can select which lesson they want to view. Retention is increased through four interactive drill-style quizzes on terminology, quadratic roots and factors, algebraic properties, and linear equations and slope. After mastering the quizzes, viewers can tackle The Algebra Adventure, a comprehensive final exam. This multiple-choice test covers all the major concepts in the tutorial, and informs viewers of right and wrong responses. Viewers also have the option to select "Quick Review," which gives a complete review of the entire program in less than 10 minutes--perfect for last-minute studying. The "Helpful Info" section lists key notations and equations taught in the program. And finally, viewers can get a behind-the-scenes tour of Cerebellum's studios and preview other products, including the popular No-Brainers series of lifestyle videos. All this with the improved digital image and sound quality of DVD.
- Topics Include: functions, point-slope formula, polynomials, finding the equation of a line, graphs and the coordinate plane, roots, algebraic properties, and linear equations
- Interactive tests and quizzes
- Additional footage not available on VHS!
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We received the Algebra 2-pack on Friday, and I played it on Saturday evening to watch it on my own. It caught my sons attention from the other room because they make a parody of Indiana Jones Adventure to explain the power of X and algebraic concepts. He came into the family room on his own to lay on the couch and start watching this with me. My son has never seen an Indiana Jones mmovie, but it didn't matter. Due to his young age, he was captivated by the video, and laughing throughout. He told me that he never thought learning algebra could be so much fun. 8 PM came and it was his bedtime, he didn't want to stop watching the video.
I think for young quick learners, the video is entertaining, and they do make learning math more fun. That is a pretty tall order since math is usually so boring. As an engineer I liked math because I was so good at it, but still, I could never really say it was fun, or taught in a fun way. The humor in this video is immature, but it works for young ones. For an eighth grader it may be a bit ridiculous, but still, it does break up a subject that can be boring for most children. I still think there is value in the video for middle school kids and older. While they may not find the humor as funny, it teaches the concepts in a different way than a school teacher might. From what I have seen so far, the information is accurate and good.
If your child is advanced in math like ours, this is a no brainer - buy it as soon as he is ready for it, or do like me and buy when the price is so good! Even if I didn't get such a discounted price for this video 2-pack, I would still be very happy making the purchase for my family.
If the latter, then I highly recommend this DVD. If not, I don't. Who is this DVD aimed at? Apparently the people who believe that Algebra is inherently scary and intimidating and requires lots of spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. Unfortunately, with this set, you don't get sugar, you get saccharine, and not enough medicine to cure the illness!
This set looks like it was pieced together with bits of scotch tape, with 1 to 2 min. segments cut together with other 1 to 2 min. segments, none of them really gelling.
Unfortunately, at the end of this travesty, you are going to come out very ignorant about algebra, which is not going to be to your benefit at test time! Now THAT'S scary!
If you really want to learn algebra, Google "great courses" algebra Sellers, and get this set when it goes on sale, usually for $79. Professor Sellers is a master teacher, and when you are finished watching his set you will really understand algebra at a very deep level.
Much more expensive, but the cost of ignorance is a lot more expensive.