Judge Kent Dixon is an English major...you do the math!
Adventures in algebra!
Hosted by Bill Nye "the Science Guy," Solving For X: Algebra I, Volume 1 explores mathematics at a level for Grade 6 students and higher. The feature focuses on the concepts of variables, balancing equations, dimensional analysis, and linear equations, whose fast-paced and dynamic intro adds excitement to an otherwise bland topic.
Nye's hosting style is both engaging and entertaining. Explaining math concepts using clear illustrations and step-by-step instructions, he does a good job of keeping viewers engaged, as they learn what one would assume to be relatively new concepts for younger students. Sure the comedy is a bit corny, but Nye genuinely seems to enjoy his niche of educating children. And who can blame him? He's good at it! By demonstrating the concepts in real-world settings like a bakery and bowling alley, kids see how textbook math can be applied in real life.
Algebra I, Volume 1 is split into four segments: Variables: Bill Nye, A.I.; Balancing Equations: "Cupcakes in the Balance"; Dimensional Analysis: "When It Comes to Units, There's No Limit"; and Linear Equations "The Lady of the Lanes." The content on this release is presented rather strangely. If viewers play the DVD from start to finish, every two or three minutes the Disney Educational Productions logo comes up and a new segment is introduced, so the best approach is to view each segment on its own.
The audio and video presentation on Solving For X are as crisp and clean as one would expect. Instead of playing the DVD on a standard player, teachers can run it on a computer, providing access to additional resources. The "Interactive Whiteboard" is an executable file that unpacks into a cool little Flash animation-based game, allowing students to solve problems on their own or compete against friends. An eight page PDF "Educator's Guide" provides teachers with a pre-built supplements for the material covered on the DVD. "Metric Conversions" is a text subtitle track supplying imperial conversions for the metric numbers.
Unlike some of the other titles from Disney Educational Productions, Solving For X: Algebra I, Volume 1 is a bit more reasonably priced at around $30. Despite clocking in at a meager 25 minutes, this title would likely serve as a helpful and entertaining supplement to regular classroom instruction at the elementary or junior high level, lending some entertainment value to math concepts that might otherwise have your students snoozing.
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