So, don’t laugh, but I joined a Math group.
Yes, I realize the last time I tried to join a Math group (in college) they ran me out amid a chorus of laughter. This is a pattern that has repeated in my life…laughed out of the ‘cool girl’ group (elementary school), the softball team (Jr. High), the cheer squad (Jr. High, again), the gymnastics team (High School), the cheer squad (High School…I was very persistent), and the soccer team (High School).
But the spurn from the Math group…that was different. It had nothing to do with coordination, athletic ability, or the size of my boobs. This was personal. This was my intelligence at stake! I vowed to some how, in some way, get myself into a math group.
That day is now! And all I had to do was send them a message begging them to let me in! And they did! Just like that! It’s a group where people chat about fun math, everyday math, exciting math! The name even sounds inviting: Living Math Forum.
So everything was going along fine, and then they decided to offer a math class, internet style. And then I felt really panicky because I just don’t ‘do’ math class very well. But then everyone was so positive about using a particular textbook, and after a while there were so many people on board I got sucked into the excitement and….I signed up and bought the book. Cheaply on Amazon, I might add.
The title is a bit soothing: Mathematics, a Human Endeavor: A Textbook for Those Who Think They Don’t Like the Subject”
It’s like this Harold R. Jacobs KNOWS me, with a title like that.
Even better, when I unwrapped the book and Naturalist saw the tessellated pattern of a horse & rider on the front, she stopped and exclaimed, “OH! Cool!” and then she held an actual math book in her hands without having a panic attack. Progress!
In the Foreward, Martin Gardner quotes Huck Finn and Mark Twain, and I’ve never seen literature quoted in math before, so that was cool. I love literature! He goes on to say,
“Thousands of people are being permanently turned away from math by texts with exercises so boring and meaningless that their readers not only don’t know the answers, but don’t even care about them.”
I think he interviewed my Jr. High and High school math teachers, to come up with a dead on quote like that. It’s like they’re stalking me or something.
I haven’t gotten any further into the book…one step at a time…but for anyone out there who wants to join a pretty rowdy math group, this is the one for you! There’s still time to sign up at Living Math Forum and get the book–either through Amazon or your library. The more the merrier!
Just sign up at Living Math Forum and stake claim to this book. The Third Edition is the pricey one, but the second and first editions are pretty reasonable, if you can still find them. Last count there were almost 50 people on board for the math group, so that depleted the supply a bit.
And now that I’m involved I can finally say….”Join the math club! All the cool kids are doing it!”