Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Playing WIth Math: Can We Keep the Campaign's Momentum Up?

Our crowd-funding campaign has been going very well - we are delighted and grateful. We are 48% of the way to our $7500 goal, on day 6. Our first three days brought us 95 contributors, and our next three days have so far only brought us 31 contributors. I'll need to figure out who else would like to know about the book, so that doesn't slow down to a drizzle. If you'd like to send a note to a friend or two who might like the book, we would be quite grateful. (My own appeal letter is here.)

Sol Lederman posted his interview with me, at Wild About Math. It's part of his Inspired by Math podcast series. It was fun to do. I think it will be fun to listen to.

While we are visibly posting and tweeting, we are also putting some finishing touches on the book behind the scenes. Today Erik and Martin Demaine agreed to share their beautiful artwork with our readers. We will be including this piece in the book.

Here's another review. I like how each review reflects different facets of the book. This is from Melissa Greene, and was posted at her blog, Reflections from Drywood Creek.

I was recently sent a manuscript copy of Playing with Math: Stories from Math Circles, Homeschoolers & Passionate Teachers edited by Sue VanHattum.  Playing with Math is definitely not a math textbook.  It's a conglomeration of helpful stories and examples of how people who love math are sharing that love with others.

The book is divided into four sections: 1. Math Circles and More: Celebrating Math; 2. Homeschoolers Do Math; 3. Passionate Teachers: In The Classroom; and 4. Resources.  Each section starts with a brief introduction followed by stories from a variety of authors.  Each story is followed by an example of various math games, puzzles and problems for you to try. 

In Math Circles and More, I learned that groups of people gather to work on math problems together.  There are math circles, math clubs, and math festivals.  Math lovers even put together math trails where they map out an area and provide math questions that can be answered by observing that surrounding area.  Go figure!  ( pun intended :)  I had no idea that people actually gather to solve math problems for fun.  Math Circles and More provides unique stories by people who have started or participated in these groups.  I was inspired at the possibility of gathering in a math club.

Homeschoolers Do Math starts off with stories from bloggers you may recognize, Julie Brennan of  Living Math! and Jimmie Lanley from Jimmie's Collage and the Notebooking Fairy.  Both ladies, among others, share anecdotes about doing math while homeschooling.  Each mom shares her journey on helping her child become successful with math, from overcoming personal fears, to turning math haters into math lovers.

The stories of Passionate Teachers are shared in section three.  These teachers rise above standardized tests, government mandates, and miscellaneous grading policies to help children succeed with math both in the classroom and for life.  The introduction states, "Good teachers have always worked valiantly to provide a rich learning environment for the children in their care, and to overcome the limitations imposed by the structure of schooling. In this section, you’ll get a peek at a few teachers who discuss their work and their struggles online. One of the themes is how textbooks get in the way. We’ve ceded much of our power to textbook publishers, and finding ways to move beyond the textbook can be very powerful."  As a homeschooler, I can personally say that I've let textbooks rule my way for teaching math because of insecurity.  I think homeschoolers and classroom teachers alike can glean from the wisdom here.

Finally, the Resource section is packed with a plethora of ideas to support you whether you are a novice or math aficionado.  There are online resources and living math book lists.  I enjoyed perusing the Meet the Author section.

You can click here to learn more about Playing with Math.  There is a brief video by VanHattum and information for purchasing the book.  I can see Playing with Math being very popular amongst math lovers and not so much math lovers looking for a survival resource.  It appears to have something for everyone. 

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