MacBeth's Opinion
...a small shelf in a small bookstore
"We take strong ground when we appeal to the beauty and truth of mathematics."
"It is a great thing to be brought into the presence of a law, of a whole system of laws, that exist without our concurrence--that two straight lines cannot enclose a space is a fact that we can perceive, state and act upon but cannot in any wise alter, should give to children the sense of limitation which is wholesome for all of us, and inspire that sursum corda which we should hear in all natural law."
"...Mathematics are extremely easy to examine upon, and so long as education is regulated by examinations so long shall we have teaching, directed not to awaken the sense of awe in contemplating a self existing science, but rather to secure exactness and ingenuity in the treatment of problems."
"...Mathematics depend upon the teacher rather than the text book, and few subjects are worse taught; chiefly because teachers have seldom time to give the inspiring ideas...which should quicken the imagination. How living would geometry become in the light of the discoveries of Euclid as he made them!"
(all from pp. 230-233, A Philosophy of Ed. by Charlotte Mason)
Book with pattern blocks included!
A brilliant and quirky set of short stories and cartoons, with a few jokes thrown in. Includes the brilliant "And He Built a Crooked House" by Heinlein. High school.
Fun! All ages.
Algebra in story form. Jr. High.
Number history. Jr high and up.
Strange looks at a two dimensional world. Abbot's attitude towards women is interesting historically.
The best of the cartoon guides. Pair with for an overview of statistics. Jr. high and up.
I am a bit embarrassed about recommending these...they are silly, but they get the point across. Geometry for the youngest.
Make memorization fun...remember these?
Read Libby's review of The Man Who Counted!
Books by Theoni Pappas:
This is a very exciting way to get to know math, and the poems are great!
Mathematical Footprints: Discovering Mathematical Impressions All Around Us
Math is everywhere. This book will help you see it clearly. A history of math from prehistory to the present.
A reviewer complains that this book leaves you wanting more. Imagine a math book making you feel that way! This is about the math of nature, literature and art.
OK--true confession time. I bought these books for myself, and my daughter took them from me at age 8, read them, and started making mathematical "things" for me. I now own a paper Klein bottle, a flexihexagon, and more.
Tired of worksheet papers everywhere?
I am very pleased to find this great resource now at Amazon. Remember: Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are tools. All higher math depends on our ability to recognize these operations. To help with simple memorization of the four basic operations, we love these tools (click on the image):
Our Favorite Math Books
The Man Who Counted, by Malba Tahan, is an Arabian tale of mathematics, puzzles and culture. This is a literate math book like no other. From Libby Derham: "This is a book full of the secrets behind arithmetic. Friendly numbers, magic squares, puzzles and Pythagoras are all presented in the form of a story. The main character is Beremiz, a man who, in his childhood, spent his time counting the sheep in his flock to make sure none was missing. He became so good at this that sometimes he could count things (besides sheep even!) at a glance. He could also do complicated mathematical equations in his head. As a grown man on his way to Baghdad, he encounters the narrator, Hanak Tade Maia. The narrator follows Beremiz throught the story, recounting the tale of his mathematical conquests in Baghdad. My favorite chapter describes Beremiz explaining the significance of the number 142,857."
Spaghetti and Meatballs for All is a nifty Marilyn Burns book about area and perimeter.
Amanda Bean's Amazing Dream Marilyn Burns tackles multiples.
The Grapes of Math by Greg Tang uses math puzzles to introduce kids to group theory and multiples, with pattern recognition basic skills thrown in for fun. Also by Tang: Math for all Seasons (patterns and problem solving), and The Best of Times (multiplication fun).
How Big is a Foot? Remember this book from grade school? It is a very simple story about measurement and the need for a standard <G>.
Remainder of One introduces kids to the big division problem...why do you get a remainder?
One Hundred Hungry Ants introduces multiplication and division.
Math a Day by Theoni Papas gives us a different mathematical theme for every day of the year (any year). Like her "Joy" books, the format is simple and includes answers, as well as historical tid-bits.
The Bunny Money Game is not a book, but a spending game based on Rosemary Wells' book. Great fun for the younger kids. Don't forget to read the picture book first.
Women and Numbers by Teri Perl is a bit of history and a little math--a great and inspiring book for your daughters. Read excerpts form this on Amazon. It includes a chapter on Theoni Pappas!
Math Curse by John Scieszka (now spelling the author's name is a REAL curse!) is a tour through a mathematical day with a school-kid. Amusing introduction to odd mathematical concepts.
Can You Count in Greek? - Exploring Ancient Number Systems by Judy Leimbach (sorry there's no photo)
Sure. This is a workbook, but it is so interesting, taking us from the earliest number systems to modern times, teaching us about base systems, Roman numerals, and the math of many other cultures. When you study Egypt, you can do the Egyptian number system. When you study the Mayans, you can learn math as Mayan children did. Challenging!
Books by Anno:
Have fun with math with these three books (check your library).
These last two are lovely stories as well as math books:
A story of factorials. Can you count to 3,628,800?
Look for Millet's painting The Angelus as the story of agriculture meets multiplication nears its end.
Here are some math books by Marilyn Burns and friends:
Math By all Means series (teacher's books with ideas for learning, and worksheets):
Challenging math books for older kids:
Amazon UK's Uncle Albert Page has math/science books for kids in middle school. These are inexpensive enough for import. My Amazon UK experience has been great--fast service!
Libby and Trip love this book. Pair it with the Wall Street Journal. Investing is math!
Here's a treasure! These books are for high school, and are full of mathematical ideas...at $8 each, they make a great small gift! These are all about 6x7 inches; 64 pages. Each is hardcover, and the paper is quite nice. CM would have loved these!
Looking for an alternative to Saxon Math for high school? Try Harold Jacobs' math books, Mathematics: a Human Endeavor (this math book wonder can be used for any level once basic arithmetic is mastered, though it was written for college students), Algebra and Geometry. For Algebra II and Trig, Jacobs himself recommends Algebra II and Trigonometry by Paul A Foerster.
Ready for Calculus? Start early, with Calculus for Young People (worksheets were never like this when I was in school!) Move on to Calculus by Frank Wang.
Other living books and casual reading for high school math fans:
Fermat's Enigma (the coolest puzzle, and the search for the solution)
Journey Through Genius and The Mathematical Universe (history of math)
The Joy of Pi (have a slice of history)
e: The Story of a Number (goes well with a trig. course)
The Golden Ratio (a more fascinating number than pi or e!)
An Imaginary Tale (square root of -1)
Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
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