Elementary Algebra

Elementary Algebra

by Harold Jacobs
Hardcover, 876 pages
Current Retail Price: $93.99
Used Price: $50.00 (6 in stock) Condition Policy

Suitable for either classroom use or self-paced study, Jacobs's popular text combines real-life examples, carefully structured exercises, and humor to help students learn and remember. Cartoons, comic strips (such as Peanuts and Wizard of Id), interesting and creative applications, puzzles, and even poetry capture the interest of students who struggle with abstract mathematics.

The book is divided into seventeen chapters, covering all concepts typical in a first-year algebra course. Each chapter is subdivided into lessons, and includes a summary and review section at the end. This grouping of lessons allows for a logical presentation of topics, but review is also incorporated throughout the text. Each lesson includes four exercise sets, with problems ranging from simple computation, through word and application problems, to challenging thought problems:

  • Set I offers a brief review of earlier topics (aside from the first five sections of the first chapter).
  • Set II covers the topics taught in that section. The book includes the answers for this set in the back of the text, helping to make the text more usable for self study.
  • Set III is a variation on the second, but the answers are not included in the text provided instead in the Teacher Guide.
  • Set IV consists of a challenging puzzle or a problem that extends the concepts learned in the section.

We find that most people who are interested in this text have been using Saxon Math and are looking for something different. Those families will find that this text offers a broader range of Algebra concepts than one level from Saxon offers: you'll find elements from Algebra 1/2 all the way through Algebra 2. But it is not meant as a two year course. The author recommends Paul Foerster's Algebra II & Trigonometry as well as his own Geometry as follow-up titles.

Granted, this text has more appeal than Saxon, but there are a couple of issues worth considering if you are contemplating a switch. First, there is less support available:the solutions manual is slightly confusing to read; and the DVDavailable is not terribly comprehensive. Second, the text tends to require the student to be more mathematically intuitive than Saxon does. While this might be very good for your student, it might also be extremely frustrating. Do your research first!

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