Review by Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Education | Updated January 2013
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Pre-Algebra Guide

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Handy but not-so-interactive reference for math rules and definitions

Subjects & skills
  • Math

  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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Pros: It's a well-organized and concise reference for middle or high school math students.

Cons: There's no real interactivity, no ability to increase the small font size, and at least one small typo.

Bottom Line: An overall good resource for students looking to get their homework done efficiently.

Teachers can encourage kids to keep Pre-Algebra Guide as a handy reference when they're working independently in class or doing homework. It's a basic app with no real interactivity, but students could work in pairs to quiz each other on math rules, using Pre-Algebra Guide to confirm answers.

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Pre-Algebra Guide is a handy mathematics reference for middle and high school students. There are no games or other interactivity, but students who read the bite-sized explanations across the 50 swipeable pages will find thorough yet concise examples of everything from basic foundational number concepts to square roots to the Pythagorean Theorem.

Students choose from a list of concepts and carefully read text including explanations and examples. Most concepts fit on one page, but some span two. Navigation is simple with a home page symbol, back and forward buttons, and swipeable pages. Important terms or groups of numbers under discussion are highlighted by blue or red text. Titles, organizers, and questions are in purple text. Rare geometric figures are drawn with precision. Some pages require scrolling down by swiping.

It's a quick reference and not much more, which is OK. Kids can use Pre-Algebra Guide to learn mathematical concepts, but more likely they'll use it to double-check and solidify them. Many people forget math concepts every once in a while, such as how to divide fractions, or the definitions of mode or range. With this app, students won't have to search through their textbook -- in a matter of a few taps, they'll have the help they're looking for. Though text is small and there's no zoom feature, the spacing, text colors, bold formatting, and icons are used carefully to give a clear presentation.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Engagement for this app consists of well-worded, concise explanations. It's not especially fun, but it's a fine, well-designed reference that doesn't necessarily need to be.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Explanations are excellent and provide depth for kids looking for answers, but some built-in interactivity would provide a powerful boost.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Menus and navigation are simple and organized.

Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Ann L. , Special education instructor
Special education instructor
Van Wyck Junior High School
Wappingers Falls, United States
Good to use for home practice or independent work.
I would say it is OK for most students that need a reference guide, but all of this information can be found on the Internet and usually with video explanations as well. There is no real need to purchase this app, unless you want a quick place to find information without having to search the web.
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