And as much as I think we often get it wrong about how we traditionally teach literature, it isn't half as bad as the state of math education. How many adults do you know-and maybe you are one of them-who have math anxiety? How do we raise our children so that they aren't as traumatized by their math education as we were? What can we do differently to make their experience better?
If you have ever asked yourself these kinds of questions, then this book is for you. The REAL editor, Sue VanHattum, a college math instructor herself, has collected contributions from over 50 educators who are approaching math in fun, creative, and empowering ways. Sue has something for everyone--homeschoolers, teachers in traditional schools, parents who want to change their schools' curriculum, community groups running after-school programs, even people teaching in prisons (actual penitentiaries, I mean, not just classes that make students FEEL like they are imprisoned). The examples and exercises range from the littlest learners through K-12 into adults. There are numerous articles on all sorts of innovative ways to turn learning math into more of a game environment than the torture chamber so many of us remember. And there are puzzles, games, exercises, and other activities that you can use right now with your own students or children to approach math in a new light. For example, even while I was copy editing the book, I used a few of the exercises in the book with my own son, who is currently studying algebra, with great success.
If you want more information on the book, check out the Playing with Math fundraising page on Incited (a Kickstarter-like crowd-funding platform that focuses specifically on educational projects). For only $9, you can get a digital version of the book, and a physical copy for $25. The good news is that they have raised the minimum required for getting the book to the printer. Additional contributions will go towards translating the book into Spanish. But by contributing (as I have done myself), you not only get access to this wonderful resource for a better way to approach math. You will also be part of an international effort to transform math education. As Sue explains it:
"Our bigger goal is to change our culture’s perceptions of math. We want math and play to go together naturally. After you’ve read your copy of Playing With Math, we hope you’ll play with the ideas in it and share your own math-play ideas with us."
The campaign is only running until July 20, 2014, so go check it out right away.