Algebra for Breakfast is an online algebra learning program created by Bob Hazen. He and his wife Sarah started Summer Algebra Institute camps in 1995. The camps were so successful that they were pushed to look at other ways to branch out. In a nutshell this is how Algebra for Breakfast was born. This online math program is geared to children in 3-4th and 5-6th grades.
Algebra for Breakfast (AFB) is not your normal math curriculum. It is instead meant to be used as a math supplement to what you may be already using. The program is a hands-on, multi-sensory approach to teaching basic algebra concepts to grade levels 3/4th or 5/6th. Each level is sold as a membership in four different ways. There is the…
* Full Membership Package- comes with a 164 piece Mortenson Math Manipulative block set, a set of Math Dice (2- 12 sided dice and 3- 6 sided dice), Skip Counting CD, and instructions. It’s available for the 3/4 grade and 5/6 grade levels.
* Reduced Membership Package- comes with everything included in the full membership EXCEPT the Mortenson Math Manipulative block set (the blocks are an integral part of this program so they are needed). It’s available for the 3/4 grade and 5/6 grade levels.
* No Membership Pack- Content Only- available for the 3/4 grade and 5/6 grade levels. This one DOES NOT come with the Mortenson Math set, Math Dice, or the Skip Counting CD.
* Special Combination Package- this is for families with 2 or more children in different grade levels. It comes with 1 full membership package.
For review purposes we received a 6 month subscription to both levels, the Math Dice, the Skip Counting CD, and instructions. To get started I logged into the site to get acquainted with the contents. Next I clicked on the grade level prep activities page and began watching videos of how to play different math games like Multiplication War, 10-20-30, Double Integer War, and more. You’ll need to make a set of playing cards (see in my picture below) in order to play these games. In the prep videos Mr. Hazen will instruct you on how to do so. As a side note you’ll want to use a browser that you can view videos using a flash player. Now back to what I was saying. These games looked really fun and we did get to play a couple of them. They help to reinforce the concepts the kids are learning, which in turn helps them to make the connection with basic algebra math concepts.
The next thing is to click on the grade level lessons. These are given in increments. That is so that the lessons are not rushed through. The lessons are short video lessons. At times you may have 1 or even up to 3 videos with a lesson. There are some introductory videos specifically for the parents, and others to the students showing Mr. Hazen explaining the why and how of the lesson. The last video is ususally the actual lesson demonstration.
In the videos we can see Mr. Hazen is in a live class with the students. We were able to see him demonstrating to the kids how to use their blocks to help them work out their math problems.
After watching a video lesson at the bottom of the page will be a place to click on and download the corresponding worksheet for that lesson. They are quick and to the point so you don’t have to worry about it taking up a lot of time. There are also answer keys to the lessons in the section called “Parent’s Corner”. It is usually located at the bottom of some of the lesson pages as well. Some topics covered in the lessons are:
• Single Variable Expressions
• Known vs Unknown Values
• The Meaning of Variables
• A Multi-Sensorial Approach to Algebra & Mathematics
• Operation Sense
• The FNLN Principle: Identifying Like Terms and Unlike Terms
• Variables & Constants: Units, x, and x2
• Operation Sense & Number Sense
• Order of Operations
• Polynomial Identification
• The Rectangle Principle: Arithmetic Factoring
• The Rectangle Principle: Quadratic Factoring
• Countable vs Uncountable Amounts
Within the two levels some of the content do repeat itself but it is specifically targeted to each age group. From our experience I see that this program is great for older kids needing to fill in some gaps, and work on the areas that they are still trying to master. Although my son is much older than the target age/grade level, I was able to explain to him how AFB can help make what he is learning in Pre-Algebra more easier for him to understand. This made him more willing to give it a try. He did not care for the skip counting songs because they are geared toward the younger ages. We worked on a few AFB lessons each week as a supplement to his math curriculum. He said it’s helping him to get better at mental math and other things. He liked the math games too especially when dad plays. He’s the math genius in our family so it’s a challenge to beat him :) Dad loves the concept of the different games so this made him excited to get involved. To help reinforce the foundation of the basic algebra concepts to our son, we will be playing these games often.
Thank you for taking the time to read through my review. Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew also had a chance to review Algebra for Breakfast levels 3/4 or 5/6. Click on the banner below to read what they had to share.
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