Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Beast Academy: Math Curriculum Review

The last couple of days Tristan and I have been testing out  Beast Academy math.  Novelty is key in keeping him interested in a daily math routine and I switch around every now and again.  Beast Academy is a new offering for elementary students by the folks that make the Art of Problem Solving math curriculum.  It is a mentally challenging curriculum which prepares kids to participate in math competitions like the Math Olympiad and Math Counts.  I would love Tristan to do the Art of Problem Solving later on and I think this will prepare him.

He has been doing Teaching Textbooks 6 (Grade 6 equivalent).  It is fine. Predictable.  While he does many arithmetic problems, there is a lot of repetition and revision and not necessarily a lot of thinking going on.  It doesn't teach him to be observant and find "out of the box" ways of solving problems.

I love the novel approach of Beast Academy.  It's interesting and written in story form.  I think my son  will remember  the stories.  He likes all the many interesting characters in the graphic novel styled textbook. The pages are bright and appealing.

There are game pages with fun puzzles to do on paper and recognizable game pieces that capture the child's attention.  Did you know a Blokus piece with 3 squares is called a trionomino? Interesting fact for a 9 year old!

We started at Grade 3 level…Grade 4 is not out yet.  I am glad we did.  Only the first two books are available right now but more are promised soon. He has learnt the concepts in the book before. So intellectually it is not a stretch.  The exercises in the workbook  stretch him as they force him to demonstrate his mastery in a fun game-like way. For example, he had to get through mazes only making acute angles with his pencil.  

Today after doing a bunch of problems in the workbook, he asked me to print out special triangular graph paper and make him more problems.  

I think it will take 3-4 weeks to finish a book.  There are 4 books for Grade 3.

I will still supplement this curriculum with Montessori materials and lessons and use my 3D manipulatives to play games reinforcing what we are doing.

I would recommend trying this curriculum if you have a clever child who likes novelty, graphic novels, game playing and puzzles.  I would watch closely to make sure the child has the concept down before attempting the problems.  This could be independent work depending on the child but I feel I need to supervise to make sure the questions are completely understood. Expect your child to have to think all the time! but don't worry because the material is so visually appealing and the characters so outrageous,  it holds a child's attention. Even mine.


  1. Next time I see you I have to take a look at these. They might be a great follow up to the Life of Fred for Lilah.......

  2. I want to see it as well! Looks pretty cool!