Tag Archives: book

141. Book(s) of the week 3

If you remember ‘The Wonder Years’ you are probably old enough to remember grunge the first time around and television programmes that didn’t involve so called ‘Reality TV’.


So what happens to female child stars?

Some have a rocky youth, work really hard and become hugely successful (Drew Barrymore). Some have a rocky youth and become hugely notorious (Lindsay Lohan). Some work really hard, do research, writing and acting, have a theorem named after them and become advocates for women and maths education!

Step forward Danica McKellar!


Apart from playing ‘Winnie Cooper’ in ‘The Wonder Years’, Danica is also a successful mathematician. She has written four books aimed at promoting maths to high school students, in particular girls. I strongly suggest you have a look at them or get your school library to purchase them as they are full of inspirational ideas and new ways to think about ‘dusty’ topics.

Her books to date are:

Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape (2013)

Hot X: Algebra Exposed! (2011)


Maths Doesn’t Suck: How to survive year 6 through year 9 maths without losing your mind or breaking a nail (2010)

Kiss my Math: Showing Pre-Algebra who’s boss (2009)

135. Book (& Website) of the week 2

If you are on Twitter, you may have heard of the perfectly titled @MathsBookClub. If not, let me explain.

People were asked to nominate their favourite Maths related book (Fiction or Fact).

People voted and the most popular was chosen.

The winner was: ‘Alex’s Adventures in Numberland’ (‘Here’s looking at Euclid’ USA) by Alex Bellos.

Just like a “meet down the pub bookclub” there will be an online discussion on Wednesday 23rd October. Except with this bookclub, the author has offered to join in! Very cool!

To join in the mathematical literary fun either follow @MathsBookClub on twitter, visit the mathsbookclub website or do both!

(Support your local Library. If that’s not possible then click on the book for a link to the paper version on Amazon.co.uk; ebook also available)

128. Book of the Week 1

If you haven’t had a chance to take part in the rather excellent ‘How to Learn Maths’¬†online course at Stanford University, led by Jo Boaler – don’t worry!


Get reading the rather brilliant book ‘The Elephant in the Classroom’ instead. You’ll find yourself going ‘Yes, I know what you mean!’, ‘I’d never thought of that …’ and ‘I need to try this out’, before you’ve even finished it.


48. Percentage book

I’ve found that copying examples and methods into a useable revision resource can be tricky for younger pupils or those with concentration issues. They don’t refer back to their notes because they are either incomplete, unreadable, unfindable in their book or just lost.

I saw instructions for making simple books from a single sheet of paper and wondered if it was worth a try.

Non calculator percentage book

Making the book
Fold a sheet of paper into eight as shown. The sample here is A4, but I used A3 in class.


Cut along the middle two quarters (blue line in the picture) and fold in half lengthways.


Fold this into an X shape.


Arrange into a book.


Clearly label the cover – you want your pupils to find this easily.

As we filled in each page, I explained why we did each process. Because their books were larger, the bottom of their pages had questions too.


We covered 50%, 25%, 10%, 5%, 30% and the last page was a challenge/extension task: 17.5%.

The back page was left blank so that they could stick the mini-books into their exercise books.



44. Bad Science


The application of statistical evidence in clinical trials is the underlying theme of Ben Goldacre’s work on his Bad Science website.

Bad Science

It is full of examples of where evidence, statistics and common sense are ignored in favour of good PR and dodgy scientific claims.

The book ‘Bad Science’ is an enthralling read. I had the audio book on my ipod when I was in hospital a while ago and still had to get the paperback because I wanted to reference and reread sections. Thanks to PG for originally telling me about it.