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Math Doesn’t Suck: A Review

Over christmas break, I did a bit of light reading.

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I am definitely not the target market for this book. I am not a 13 year old girl. But, 13 year old girls have been on the wrong end of Barbie’s “Math is hard” message for too many years.

This book does an admirable job of breaking through that barrier. GCF is taught by comparing ex-boyfriends to the current one. Babysitting leads to rational numbers. Ratios are introduced by examining how much time is spent talking on the phone.

It’s not the problems that make it different, though – it’s that it’s written in the style of girltalk – heavy on the personal revelations, emotional issues take precedence over the nuts and bolts. It feels as if it’s something that’s whispered between friends hiding under a blanket. And all throughout, there’s positive reinforcement about how easy this is, as long as you just stick with it for a bit.

Thrown in are anecdotes about celebrity life, horoscopes, and travel tips.

Even though the book is overall a plus, there are a couple of things missing. The explanations are mostly procedural – there’s not a lot of deeper connection. And as a teacher, I can’t pull the good parts into the classroom. Coming from a 47 year old man, it would be awkward at best.

I think I’ll leave it sitting in the pen tray for the whiteboard, and see who picks it up.

{ 3 } Comments

  1. Jorge | January 11, 2009 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    The book is that much cooler because it’s Winnie from The Wonder Years. Although i doubt your current students watch that. I’m not even sure if they still air it anymore.

  2. Sarah | January 11, 2009 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Coming from a 47 year old man, it would be awkward at best. I think it’d still be slightly off coming from a 23 year old female whose students sometimes call by her first name.

    But I am always surprised at what students pick up and when. Think that’s a good plan.

  3. Certain Absurdity | January 17, 2009 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    I’m impressed that you found that book and read it. Would any of it work for high school?