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Pre-Algebra Guide

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Handy math reference gives bite-sized explanations.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn and solidify middle- and high-school level math concepts like the distributive property, square roots, and the Pythagorean Theorem. Kids can also learn basic search skills like key words or making inferences about key words to find what they're looking for. The presence of a few typos is disappointing. For instance, one item says "one-third the number n is 1/3 or n/3"; the "n" is missing from 1/3 in the app. Overall, Pre-Algebra Guide is a useful math reference for students in middle school and beyond.

Ease of play

Single menu, flexible and intuitive navigation, small but pleasing presentation.

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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Pre-Algebra Guide is a handy mathematics reference for middle- and high-school students. Yes, the text is small, but spacing, text colors, bold formatting, and icons are used carefully to give a clear presentation. The main menu is your basic laundry list of mathematical concepts. Pages provide thorough yet concise examples and explanations, as well as precise terminology.

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What's it about?

Pre-Algebra Guide presents a simple menu of mathematical concepts on 50 pages (some run to two pages). One Step Equations tells kids to "get the variable by itself on one side of the equation (equals sign)" then gives examples for each of the four operations. That's it. Short and sweet. Explanations are clear and use precise terminology. Navigation is simple with a home page symbol, back and forward buttons, and swipeable pages.

Is it any good?


Pre-Algebra Guide is a well-organized and simple reference for middle- and high-school math students. While it doesn't provide any games or other interactivity, kids who actually read the bite-sized explanations will really be doing themselves a favor. The few typos in the app are minor, but parents should be aware that they exist. For example, the fourth item in number 47 says "one-third the number n is 1/3 or n/3"; the "n" is missing from 1/3 in the app. 

Kids can use Pre-Algebra Guide to learn mathematical concepts, but more likely they will use it to double check and solidify them. Many people forget math concepts every once in a while, like how to divide fractions, or the definitions of mode or range. With this app, your tweens and teens won't have to search through their textbook -- in a matter of a few taps, the Subtracting Polynomials section will do the trick.

Families can talk about...

  • Take turns challenging and quizzing each other on math rules.

  • Point out mathematical situations in real life: proportion of people to cars, for example.

  • Let kids know that while overall this is a good reference, there are a few typos, and if something is unclear in the app they may need to double check.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
Subjects:Math: algebra, arithmetic, equations, fractions, geometry, numbers, ratio, sequences
Skills:Self-Direction: academic development, effort
Communication: asking questions
Emotional Development: persevering
Thinking & Reasoning: memorization, part-whole relationships, problem solving
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:May 31, 2011
Size:3.80 MB
Minimum software requirements:iOS 3.0 or later; Android 1.5 and up

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