Blog and Book Updates
A quick peek at what I'm working on
My first two Math You Can Play number games books are off to the copy editor, which means I'm on track for a mid- to late-spring publication date. Now I need to focus on the graphics, and I hope to post one or two of the games on my blog this month.
But instead of talking about my books, I'd like to introduce you to Tina Cardone's book, Nix the Tricks.
A little over two years ago, Cardone stopped complaining about her high school students' lack of understanding and started doing something about it. With the help of teachers from around the online world, she put together a collection of "math tricks" that confuse students or keep them from understanding the math they study.
Math tricks are rhymes, rules, or catchy mnemonics that help students get right answers in the short term. Such tricks don't build strong understanding of the concepts, so they can't support future learning.
For instance, Marilyn Burns blogged recently about a question in the Math Reasoning Inventory:
12.6 × 10 = ?
Of nearly eight thousand students interviewed nationwide, more than half answered incorrectly, and the two most common wrong answers were 120.6 and 12.60. Why? Because those students had mastered the trick of multiplying by ten: just add a zero!
"Students are capable of developing rich conceptual understanding," Cardone says. But unfortunately, "Many students will wait for the shortcut and promptly forget the reasoning behind it ... If students do not understand, they are not doing math."
Ranging from elementary school addition to polynomial synthetic division, Nix the Tricks suggests alternative ways to approach tricksy topics and help students make sense of the math.
The book has done well for a self-published title, with more than 10,000 downloads and over 200 copies sold.
Last month, Tina released an expanded 2nd edition of Nix the Tricks. You can download the pdf or ebook file free, or buy a paperback at Amazon. Highly recommended for anyone who teaches math!