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Balance Math & More Level 1 Review by Courtney Larson

Robert Femiano
The Critical Thinking Co.
PO Box 1610
Seaside, CA 93955

Balance Math & More Level 1 is a reproducible workbook for grades 2-5. This 46-page workbook contains activities that combine mathematical computation with logical thinking for a good mental workout. This workbook contains three different types of exercises, and they increase in difficulty throughout the book.

The first type is called "Balance Math." In this activity, students are presented with three balances. On one side of the balance are shapes (or one shape, in the earlier exercises), and the other side of the balance assigns a numerical value to these shapes. The first two balances give information, and the final balance asks the student to figure out the numerical value for the shape or shapes on the balance.

The second type of exercise is called "Inside Out Math." This activity uses a grid with four squares. Each of the squares contains one of the following: a+c, a+d, b+c, and b+d (or the same letters using subtraction). There are various numerical values filled in, and the student is required to solve for a, b, c, and d.

The third type of exercise is called "Tic Tac Math." In this exercise, a tic-tac-toe grid is partially filled in with numerical values. The student must complete the grid so that all rows, columns, and diagonals equal the same sum.

Balance Math & More Level 1 is a fun introduction to algebraic thinking, though I do think second graders might have difficulty with some of the activities in the book, especially toward the end. However, a third, fourth, fifth, or even sixth grader who enjoys logic puzzles would enjoy this book. The puzzles are challenging, and I'd recommend this book as a great supplement to any math program.

Product review by Courtney Larson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC , March 2011