A Math Textbook for Adult Basic Education

I want to thank folks who contacted me about open textbooks for adult basic math. I taught the course last quarter with downloaded worksheets, old textbooks, and out-dated GED teaching materials. My class made it work – I turned it into a projects-based curriculum, and it was a lot of fun.

The next quarter I teach the class will be somewhat different because I have settled on a textbook: The Fundamentals of Mathematics by Burzynski & Ellis from OpenStax (Rice University). I like the text because it is clear, contains well laid out, step-by-step explanations, and it is very visual. According to the site: “The work text format gives the student space to practice mathematical skills with ready reference to sample problems. The chapters are divided into sections, and each section is a complete treatment of a particular topic, which includes the following features:

  • Section Overview
  • Sample Sets
  • Practice Sets
  • Section Exercises
  • Exercises for Review
  • Answers to Practice Sets

The chapters begin with Objectives and end with a Summary of Key Concepts, an Exercise Supplement, and a Proficiency Exam.”

Strangely enough, I could not find the book there from the front page, I had to Google it. I will have to email to see if the book is being retired or something. I down-loaded a pdf just in case.  The text is free, openly licensed, not behind a login or a paywall.

My main concern with textbooks is getting them into the hands of students in a timely fashion. Many of my students are in marginal economic circumstances. I would also like to break the book down into modules and put it up online. Both of these cases require an openly licensed book.

I looked at a number of sources – there are some great ones from the University of British Columbia but the illustrations were all of things like Canadian money. I looked at others that were teaching the right subjects but the audience was obviously 6th graders – lots of juggling clowns, etc.

If you have any other suggestions – feel free to send them my way OR if you have taught using this textbook, I would love to hear from you!

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