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Michigan, United States
a registered yoga teacher, and a Thai/Yoga Bodywork practitioner.

Monday, April 30, 2012

The math we'll need; the math we'll love

The assumption that we all need to take higher math is wrong. For those who love math, go ahead and wallow in the numbers! For most of us, though, arithmetic, thinking logically and reasoning is what we need most.

Based on math teachers' lectures on TED talks, taking Calculus and Trigonometry is practical for professions who put it to use--like engineers and technicians. The rest of us will remember just enough to pass the class or get through the SAT.

To keep math relevant and interesting, Nate and I are working through this book:

After most of these problems, he pronounced them "fun" and "cool." It doesn't take long to work through each dilemma, and the stories have a sense of exaggerated danger that boys love.  

 We are not spoon-fed the method, but are given "Euclid's hints." (If you are stuck, there is a flow chart that shows you how to work it out, but so far he has needed that for just one problem). 

 After each problem, there's a simple lab demonstrating how to use the method. The favorite required a half-gallon of ice cream. We had to figure out how many cone-sized scoops are in one carton. Eating the demo was motivation enough for Nate!

Here's a site of reasoning/logic games: http://www.mathplayground.com/logicgames.html  

We'll be using this for some of our math. I want them to know how to deal with numbers, but not to terrify and traumatize them.


  1. Thanks for these recommendations! Heading to Amazon to put that book on the wishlist now, and bookmarking mathplayground as well. I saw that TED talk, about how not everyone needs higher math, last week and thought it made a lot of sense!

  2. The book is geared toward 5th, 6th, and 7th graders (though I have not shared that with N. as he might pre-screen himself out of some problems). It requires arithmetic + - x / and a patient parent to let him wallow around in *not knowing* right away. I like that it leaves the reader to decide the proper approach. In a few cases, we found the right answer, but not in the way shown on the answer page.

  3. I'm going to get my hands on this book, too. We have two of his science books, and those are pretty cool.

  4. I read the author's name and pictured it by "Sean Connery"

    1. :-) I would buy that book, too, but only on audio and only if Sean read it.

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  5. Here's the link to that TED talk, John Bennett, TEDx Manhattan Beach (copy & paste):


    It must be making the rounds as it showed up on "Almost Unschoolers" (blog I follow).

  6. The book looks great, and goes right to where my thoughts are flowing :)