Mathphobics, unite!

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!”


7 Responses

  1. I missed your first math post. OK, I’ve missed your last few posts. I’ve been distracted with other stuff.

    Anyway, I belong to that group too (not the math club thingy, but the LivingMath Forum). It really is a great resource for learning/teaching math in real life. Lately, we’ve been doing NOTHING for math (except white board problems occasionally), so I haven’t been reading the board much.

    That sounds like a neat book! Looks like you are on your way to being a Mathlete!

  2. I don’t know how you got me, but you did…I logged onto my library – thought if they had it maybe, well they didn’t have to place a hold, I would need my library card, too lazy to go downstairs, oh…wait…my card is right next to the computer. So, I reserved it. No excuses. I guess I’ll be joining you online…

  3. Kath…it was totally destiny.

    You were meant to get the book, and do the lessons, and give me the right answers since it doesn’t come with an answer key.

    Yep, it’ll be just like high school for me. 🙂

  4. Well, you certainly have my admiration and I wish you all the best of luck.

    Will I be signing up? No way!

    I haven’t built up enough immunity to textbooks yet and the very sight of them still makes me sneeze and break out in hives.

    I do hope you will post about how it goes though.

  5. At first I was thinking that you are the biggest nutjob that i have never met. But THEN… I was like…. “CRAP!!! I want to join math group too!” Hahahaha

  6. WHAT DID YOU GET ME INTO! I’m a little nervous, I’m accepted into the group!

  7. Oh, Superboy has that book and he has been working through it off and on, here and there. I was actually thinking of encouraging him t o start it up again.

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