Beast Academy is a full math curriculum for grades 2‑5. You can use it as a supplement or as your main math curriculum. Each grade is split into units A‑D, and each unit consists of a Guide book and a Practice book. The Guide is a textbook for teachers and students alike; the Practice books are student workbooks. Together, the Beast Academy books teach math content, model problem-solving strategies, and challenge students to work through the material and learn it deeply.
In the full-color, comic-book-style Guides, four monsters attend classes at Beast Academy, where they grapple with math concepts and work together to solve problems. Meanwhile, the black-and-white Practice books provide hundreds of problems for students to practice computation and develop reasoning and problem-solving skills. These problems appeal to a wide range of students, encompassing everything from simple calculations to multi-step puzzles. Challenging and outright difficult problems are marked specially (and are keyed to hints at the back of each practice book)—we include these to encourage students to deepen their mastery of the material.
Beast Academy currently includes complete materials for grades 2, 3, 4, and 5. Try our pre-assessments to help determine which level to start with.
Because Beast Academy is such a challenging curriculum, we generally recommend that students start up to a year "behind" their current grade level in a standard curriculum, even if they have already learned those topics in school. This will give students a chance to adjust to the difficulty level found in Beast Academy, while deepening their understanding of these topics.
We were inspired to write math comic books by the kinds of visual representations that help so many students understand abstract mathematical concepts. Beast Academy’s cartoon monsters can point, draw, write, color, and create whatever is needed to help communicate explanations.
The format also allows the characters to model the attitudes and skills that students need to become strong problem solvers. Readers learn from the characters that using multiple strategies and making mistakes are all part of the process. We aim to help students develop a positive attitude towards math by watching Beast Academy’s characters have fun solving problems.
We built Beast Academy to challenge and excite mathematically talented students and to help all students experience the joy and beauty of math. Beast Academy teaches approaches and insights that will draw in some students who haven’t found their mathematical spark yet and can be used to help struggling students truly understand how numbers work.
Take a look at our recommendations for where to start when you begin BA.
If you teach 180 days of math and want to finish a grade level per year, aiming for about 12‑15 instructional days per chapter should work well. We recommend assigning Beast Academy by time and not by pages, as there is a lot of variation in the time it takes to complete each page of Practice.
How much time you assign is entirely dependent on the student and scheduling. We expect that 3 hours a week for 9 months would be pretty typical for a student to complete one year of Beast Academy, but there will be a lot of variation. If a student is using both the books and BA Online, it will take significantly longer to complete each chapter.
While the first couple times students tackle problems without easy or obvious answers can be difficult, these occasions are an important part of the learning process. Here are some ways you can help:
- Make sure students develop appropriate expectations about the time and effort involved in solving hard problems. The questions marked with stars are supposed to be challenging!
- Refer students to the lessons in the Guide and the directions and examples at the top of the Practice pages. Students who are used to working ahead on their own may benefit from being guided to slow down and re-read the instructions.
- Experienced problem solvers know it’s normal to get a problem wrong several times before getting it right. Experimenting and making mistakes is an important part of working on a challenging problem.
- If your student has spent significant time on a starred problem and would like a hint, feel free to make use of the guiding questions at the back of the Practice book.
- Remind your student that it’s okay to take a break for a few minutes, hours, or even a day or two. Reviewing a problem with fresh eyes often makes a big difference.