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Review of Kinetic Books Algebra 1 curriculum

Kinetic Books Algebra 1 is a digital textbook for algebra 1. This means it is a computerized and interactive curriculum. This is a complete stand-alone algebra 1 curriculum, containing the actual instruction, exercises, homework problems, quizzes, and tests.

The sequence of the topics in Kinetic Books Algebra 1 is traditional, so it can be easily adapted to school usage. The chapters are:

1 Introduction to Algebra
2 Operations with Real Numbers
3 Solving equations
4 Graphs, Charts, and Data Analysis
5 Graphing and Linear Equations
6 Functions
7 Systems of Equations
8 Inequalities
9 Exponents
10 Polynomials
11 Rational Expressions and Equations
12 Radical Expressions and Equations
13 Quadratic Equations

These 13 chapters are divided into 136 lessons. Each of the 136 lessons in turn is divided into several small sections or pages that the student studies using the software.

Click to enlarge

Each of these small sections explains some particular concept and has a few interactive exercises that the student can use to immediately check his/her understanding. For example, for lesson 128 (Solving Quadratic Equations by Taking Square Roots), the small sections are:

13.13 The Square Root Principle
13.14 Quadratic equations with irrational solutions
13.15 Sample problem: Solving a quadratic equation with a squared expression
13.16 Application problem: Free fall
13.17 Sample problem: Solving a quadratic equation using the square root principle
13.18 Application: Body mass index
13.19 Kinetic Homework
13.20 End of Unit Problems.

This means that the program goes through algebra concepts and topics in small increments or steps (each small section is one such step). You could say the concepts are "scaffolded" well. The product also has "Listen to Explanation" buttons. If you click one, you will hear and see the text for step-by-step explanations of the example problems. And, you also get access to videos – one per lesson – that show how to solve some of the problems in the digital text.

Each lesson (or unit) contains "Kinetic Homework". This simply means a small number of problems (4-10) that are checked by the computer.

Each lesson (or unit) also contains "End of Unit Problems". This is a long list of problems that are not interactive; in other words, they are just like any problems in a regular textbook. These problems include some challenging ones as well. Typically, the instructor would assign some of the End of Unit Problems for the student to do. The program provides answers to these, but not full solutions.

The product comes with a 752-page PDF textbook. This textbook contains the same text and all the problems as the online version of the product but lacks the interactivity. It is essentially screenshots from the digital curriculum.

As you do problems in sections and in Kinetic homework, the computer will keep track of your score for each lesson in each chapter. However, it doesn't restrict you to any particular lesson. You can always access any lesson any time. Also, I didn't notice it keeping track of where I was at in the program. So while it keeps the scores for the problems, you need to remember where you left off, in order to continue at the right place (just like when using a normal book).

The actual text of the digital textbook looks like this:

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You can also get a good feel for the typical coursework by checking the samples provided on their site: Graphing a Linear Equation Quickly and Solving the equation by isolating the variable.

So, it is basically text on computer screen. But you can listen to an explanation which will go through the example step-by-step. If you already know the concept, you can skip all that and just do the exercises on that page.

After the instruction, some interactive problems follow. They typically look like this and also have step-by-step explanations:

The book has over 3,000 problems where the textbook checks your work and offers step-by-step help if needed. Some lessons with application problems have what are called "paper & pencil quickcheck" problems. There are no solutions to these; the student is supposed to be able to solve them by studying the example and its solution.

Every now and then, the digital book has games or other interesting activities (there are 200 of these). Here are some examples:

There is one game you can check out since it's provided as a free sample: Interactive problems: Bug spray (distributive property)

The digital book also includes a fair amount of real-world applications of algebra in every chapter. Some examples include mean arterial pressure, profits in a business, time, speed & distance, equations involving money & motion, ciphers, frequency & wavelength, pilot accident rate, irrigation system, etc. Some of these are provided as "challenge applications".

My thoughts

I think this can be an excellent choice for algebra 1 curriculum for any student who likes computer-assisted teaching, interactively checked exercises & quizzes, and some games and fun activities in between. The product is very well done in all those respects. Folks, millions of dollars have been spent building the various Kinetic Books products, so no wonder it is well done, and has all this variety!

The program is designed to be quite self-teaching, and will probably require very little parent involvement in the main lessons. However, I'm not saying that the parent can totally stay away from the learning process; that will depend on the student. For example, the product includes some challenging problems where parent involvement may very well be needed.

If you want to find lacks or shortcomings, one is that the end-of-unit problems and the paper-and-pencil quickchecks don't have full solutions, just answers. There has been some demand for these, so maybe the company will eventually add them.

Secondly, there are about 20 contributors and they include people writing text, creating art, programming software and testing. Since this is done by a team and not by a single author, the text reads very "sterile" (as do most all schoolbooks, in fact). It's not really a lack, it's just how schoolbooks usually are. I have read some algebra books by single authors where you can feel an "author's touch" which makes the text more lively. I also feel that such books can perhaps present a more connected picture of mathematics.

So, some will probably prefer a textbook, but my guess is that many students will prefer the instant feedback, computer-checked exercises, and the fun games & activities found in Kinetic Books Algebra 1 over a traditional textbook. Check out the sample lessons on their website to see if you or your student(s) would like the product.

Note that Kinetic Books Algbera 1 does not come with a physical textbook. You might want to invest a few dollars in a used algebra textbook so you can have the information handy after completing algebra 1.

Kinetic Books Algebra 1. Website:

Pricing for homeschool: Algebra 1 – $79.95; Algebra II – $79.95; Geometry – $47.45; Pre-Algebra – $79.95. This gives you one-year access to the program.

Review by Maria Miller



  • Macintosh Installation
    To install, download the file and then double click on it. The total time for installation is approximately five minutes, depending on the speed of your computer's processor. In order to minimize installation time, we recommend turning off any anti-virus scanning software before beginning installation.
    Program files are stored by default in the "Applications" folder under "Perfection Learning."
  • Uninstalling on Macintosh
    Drag the following folders to the trash to remove a Perfection Learning product. refers to the name of the product, for example “Algebra I Online”
    Applications/Perfection Learning/
    UserLibrary/Application Support/
    The desktop icon, if you created one.
  • Using the Textbook
    On a Macintosh, Double-click the product icon on your desktop.


  • Windows Installation
    Run the installer. The total time for installation is approximately five minutes, depending on the speed of your computer's processor. In order to minimize installation time, we recommend turning off any anti-virus scanning software before beginning installation. Depending on your antivirus software, you may have to temporarily disable it to complete authentication of this software.
    The files are stored in the "Program Files" directory under "Perfection Learning"
  • Uninstalling on Windows
    Choose "Perfection Learning" from the Start menu/Programs, and run the uninstaller to remove the product.
  • Using the Textbook
    On Windows, double-click the icon on your desktop or choose "Perfection Learning" from the Start menu/Programs, and select the product you want to launch.

System Requirements

  • Macintosh
    Mac OS X version 10.9 and newer
    Screen resolution: 1024 x 768 and higher
    RAM: 512 MB or greater
    Disk Space: 90 MB available
  • Windows PC
    Windows XP and newer
    Screen resolution: 1024 x 768 and higher
    RAM: 512 MB or greater
    Disk Space: 35 MB available

Supported Browsers

  • We encourage our users to use the latest version of Google Chrome for the best possible experience. However, we do offer limited support for other popular browsers including the latest versions of Safari and Microsoft Edge. If you encounter any problems, please switch to Google Chrome before submitting issues.

Online Homework Guides

Frequently Asked Questions

Ordering Questions

Why haven’t I received my set up email?

  • It may have gone to junk mail, please check that folder.
  • Make sure the email address you are using is your web store account email.
  • If you have a web store account, you can log in to retrieve your email at

Where can I find Getting Started Guides for teachers and students?

Why is my credit card charged but my order never went through?

  • If your credit card was denied, your bank may put a hold on the funds for a short amount of time. Most holds on funds clear within 7–10 business days. Please check with your bank for more information.

How can I find information about my order history?

  • Log into your web store account to access past orders and any emails that were sent to you.

Can I purchase a printed textbook without buying a digital program?

  • No. Our products are completely digital, we only sell the printed textbooks as a supplement.

Can I convert a 1 year license to a 6 year license?

  • Certain 1-year licenses may be converted into 6-year licenses. Please contact customer service for more details.

Does Perfection Learning provide bookstore discounts?


What technologies do the Textbook and Virtual labs use?

  • The product was developed to run in a browser environment using HTML, JavaScript, Java 1.4.2_01 or higher, Flash version 10.0

Where can I find a link to the product installer?

  • Refer to the original set up email. You can also log onto your web store account to access any past emails.

Can I install the products on the school server?

  • No, but you can include a link to the web access installer.

Can I use the product with an LMS (Learning Management System)?

  • Yes, you can copy links from the program into your LMS. Please contact customer service for more information.

Why do I need to download an installer if my program is web access?

  • The installer provides a secure and stable client environment to run our web-based programs. This approach has proven the most effective way to deliver consistent and reliable service to our customers.

Can I reinstall the product after a reformat of the same hard drive?

  • Yes, you can reinstall the product on as many computers as needed. Your username and password can be used on any computer the product is installed.

How is the product updated?

  • When a user logs on, the latest version of product content is used, no action by the user is needed for content updates.
  • In rare cases, an update is available for the locally installed applicaiton. Updates can be performed manually by clicking on Preferences in the footer of the textbook and choosing Updates.

Will your products run on iPad?

  • First Person Physics and MathX are iPad compatible.

Where is the PDF to my program?

  • The PDF link is located on the table of contents page.

Can I print out the PDF and give it to my students?

  • The PDF copy is intended for the use of the licensee of the product. Using program PDFs from a single license for whole class use is prohibited.

Kinetic Science Products

What math knowledge is needed for each level of physics?

  • First Person Physics— Currently enrolled in Algebra I
  • Principles of Physics— Algebra based, at least Algebra I, currently enrolled in Algebra II
  • Physics for Scientists and Engineers— Calculus based

Do I need to use a physics textbook with Virtual Physics Labs?

  • Virtual Physics Labs is a stand-alone, supplemental product. It is best used with one of our physics programs or a print textbook.

Do the physics products have teacher resources?

  • We provide a solutions guide and an online homework option as well as the optional Virtual Physics Labs.

Are there worked out solutions for the end of chapter problems?

  • This is included in the solutions guides.

Have the physics products been College Board aligned?

  • Principles of Physics has been aligned to AP Physics 1 and 2.
  • Physics for Scientists and Engineers has been aligned to AP Physics C.

How many end of chapter problems are included in each title?

  • There are over 2000 end of chapter problems.

Kinetic Math Products

Are your math programs considered core curriculum or supplemental?

  • Although they can be used as supplemental, our products are designed as comprehensive core curriculum and are an ideal replacement for traditional print textbooks.

What is the difference between the student and teacher’s edition?

  • The teacher edition has the same content as the student edition but also contains the following instructor resources:
    -Getting Started
    -Lesson Plans
    -Assignment Generator
    -Assessment Resources
    -Common Core Correlations
    -All answers to End of Unit Problems
    -Answers to Paper and Pencil Quick checks
  • Our 2.0 math programs, released in 2011-12, are built for the Common Core State Standards and include a number of enhancements including:
    -Dozens of new content sections in each program
    -Thousands of new problems
    -Complete program redesign
    -Hundreds of new videos
    -…and much more

We are currently using version 1.3 of Kinetic Math. Can I mix the usage of version 1.3 and 2.0 products in my classroom?

  • The teacher and student editions must all be the same version. Please contact customer service about upgrade options.

How do you enter exponents and the multiplication sign?

  • You can write E for exponent i.e. 6E-2.
    If this does not answer your question; please feel free to contact us at:

Why are mathematical symbols such as “closed integral” and “dot product” displaying incorrectly?

  • Occasionally, Windows does not refresh installed Fonts. Below are the steps to resolve these problems:
    1. Open Windows Explorer
    2. Navigate to Windows/Fonts
    3. Confirm that the Esstix Math font is in this directory
    4. Refresh the page that contained the bad symbols display

Why are there answers for only every other problem at the end of each unit?

  • Most math texts show the odd answers only. Homework assignments typically consist of questions with both odd and even-numbered problems. Students demonstrate mastery by working through problems without assistance. Unlike print textbooks, though, Kinetic Math programs have abundant, easy-to-access help resources like Quick Checks, whiteboards, and videos to assist students if they get stuck. Kinetic products follow the research-based methodology of gradually releasing responsibility to students.

Why do the standardized test answers not appear?

  • This is based on feedback from teachers, who prefer answer questions of this type as part of their proficiency assessments.

When do my grades appear in the grade book?

  • I have completed the homework, and the scores show, but they do not appear in the grade book.
    Grades do not show up in the grade book until the due date.

What are the features of online homework accounts?

  • Instructors have the ability to set up courses and assignments. Instructors can eliminate the possibility of sharing of answers by students through using “vary the parameter” technology in the questions. Students get the same exact type of question, but with coefficients and/or constants that are varied by student. This feature can be turned off to accommodate cooperative or flexible groupings of students.
  • Online homework is automatically graded, providing instantaneous, actionable data for instructors.

What are the differences between physics and algebra homework?

  • Physics
    -Assignment creation
    -Grade book for assignments
  • Algebra
    -Assignment creation
    -Thousands of vary-the-parameter problems
    -Grade book for assignments
    -Grade book for book scores
    -Report creation

What options do I have for viewing Microsoft PowerPoint lesson plan warmups?

  • For Windows, the free Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer is available on the Microsoft website.
  • For the Macintosh, these files must be viewed using Microsoft PowerPoint for Mac.
  • Note: As of September 2009, the mathematical equations used in the PowerPoint slides cannot be viewed correctly in PowerPoint alternatives from companies like Google.


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