Review of Looking at Lines
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received free in exchange for my honest review AIMS Education Foundation's "Looking at Lines" in the algebraic thinking series. Having reviewed AIMS last year, I was excited to see what this new book was like.
AIMS stands for Activities Integrating Math and Science, and that is exactly what the company does. Math and science topics are often paired, although each is developed individually in separate books. Although these books are not developed specifically for homeschoolers, they are ideal for this market, since each book concentrates on one specific study. In other words, I don't think that this book could be considered a full math curriculum, but as a supplement to the study of linear functions, it is fabulous!
Like all of the AIMS books I have had the privilege of seeing, this one uses experimentation and observation to illustrate linear functions. For example, in one activity, my children (10 and 8, both in pre-algebra) made a pendulum and then measured the pendulum's frequency as a function of time. All of the instructions were given and were clear enough that my kids didn't need my help. Even better, the graph, with the x-axis already filled in, is part of the book itself, making every last thing about this lesson so EASY! If you're like me, then that is the number one thing that makes a homeschooling curriculum attractive. With this one simple, but fun, experiment, my children created a graph that illustrated a linear function far better than anything I learned in pre-algebra.
Looking at Lines is composed of six parts which, when taken together, teach every aspect of linear functions. While it is not a complete curriculum, it was the best supplement to our pre-algebra studies that I could have hoped to find. From discovering linear functions in science all the way to equalities and inequalities, this book covers it all. It even comes with a CD containing all the printables you need which is fabulous for families with more than one child! Further, if you are required to align to state standards, you'll be thrilled with how thoroughly this book accomplishes that.
Looking at Lines is available from AIMS for $24.95 for either the physical or ebook version. If you are heading into pre-algebra, or have a child who is struggling with linear functions, you absolutely can't go wrong with this book. It is worth its weight in gold.