BOOKS

  • Richard Feynman’s Great Physics Lectures are Finally Available Online Sometimes it takes decades for works that have had an immense impact to become easily and cheaply available, and this is especially true in the sciences. The difficulty of making a science or math text, with all of its special symbols and diagrams, browser-friendly poses a serious technical challenge. Since 1964, the “Feynman Lectures on ...
  • A Book on Modern Mathematics for Elementary School Students Sadly, professional mathematicians play a mostly decorative role in shaping mathematics education. Research is simply a much more attractive activity than the politics of education reform and curriculum development. There are not enough incentives to lure most mathematicians away from their academic responsibilities and to push them into improving the quality of mathematics instruction, unless ...
  • Moebius Noodles: A Mathematical Playground for Young and Old Contrary to popular belief, mathematics is not an activity that requires textbooks, calculators, and years of training. Because it consists of such fundamental notions as symmetry, classification, counting, and geometric transformations — all concepts that come naturally to even the youngest children — mathematics can truly be studied at any age. If you have picked ...
  • Quadratics Done Simply and Properly A common middle school algebra topic like quadratics is all too often spread across hundreds of confusing textbook pages and several years of tedious instruction. It’s as if the subject is a mix of rocket science and neurosurgery. In reality, if you set aside some of the more beautiful geometric examples, the basic algebra of ...
  • A Comprehensive Guide To Teaching K-8 Mathematics One of the effects of a highly decentralized education system in the US is the lack of a single guide to teaching any single subject. In mathematics, especially at the K-8 level, this has been an acute problem with no easy solution. Teachers have to do their own research, rely on the opinion of colleagues, ...
  • Computer Science Unplugged: A Computational Thinking Curriculum Without the Computer The chorus calling for teaching computer science to all children seems to be getting louder by the day. Even the White House seems to think that programming is the new literacy. Programming is clearly an important skill, but the rush to teach programming languages and popular web technologies seems to have eclipsed a much more ...
  • The Fascinating World of Preschool Mathematics Education and Enrichment Teaching math to young kids who don’t know how to read, write, or count is a complicated task. Providing these kids with mathematical enrichment seems like an even more daunting task. Unfortunately, the vast majority of math materials for young kids involve colorful pictures, games, and activities without real mathematical substance. Sure, knowing the names ...
  • Street-Fighting Mathematics: Inexact Reasoning Leading to Deeper Understanding All too often school teaches us to “guess and check” when a simple exact calculation would lead to the right answer. Guessing the answer to a one variable equation may not further our mathematical knowledge, but is it possible that guessing can lead to deep insights? According to Sanjoy Mahajan, physicist and author of Street-Fighting ...
  • Trigonometry the Nonboring Way Few subjects have such a reputation for being boring as trigonometry. Most students who study it miss both the historical context and the interesting applications because most textbooks are too dry and skip the story that gives the subject meaning. Eli Maor’s book, Trigonometric Delights, addresses these shortcomings by a offering a historical development of ...
  • How to Start Your Own Math Circle or Enrichment Program Traditionally, math enrichment programs are run by professional mathematicians with an interest in education or by teachers with an interest in math competitions, but for most other people the idea of starting their own program seems like a daunting task. Fortunately, a few years ago, Sam Vandervelde and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute put together ...
  • Problem Solving Russian Style You’ve read about the lack of proper problem solving in schools and you’ve even started thinking about a few recommended nonstandard elementary problems, now what? You could browse the Web looking for puzzles or math olympiad problems, but a much better approach would be to find a source of problems that is structured by topic, ...
  • Mindstorms: Children, Computers, And Powerful Ideas Some of the most crucial steps in mental growth are based not simply on acquiring new skills, but on acquiring new administrative ways to use what one already knows. If you’re only going to read one book on learning Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas has to be it. On the surface, this may seem like ...