Let's Play Math: How Families Can Learn Math Together and Enjoy It Paperback – 18 Feb 2016
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About the Author
Denise Gaskins is a veteran homeschooling mother of five who has taught or tutored at every level from preschool to undergraduate physics. She loves math, and she delights in sharing that love with young people. "Math is not just rules and rote memory," Denise says. "Math is like ice cream, with more flavors than you can imagine. And if all you ever do is textbook math, that's like eating broccoli-flavored ice cream!" As author of the popular blog Let's Play Math, Denise helps parents and teachers open their students' eyes to the variety and richness of mathematics. Her articles and books explore the adventure of learning math as a mental game, playing with ideas.
Top customer reviews
The next part of the book is a more practical guide for ways to 'play' at maths. There are descriptions of games, from those as simple as noughts and crosses to adapted card games. There are suggestions of manipulatives and ways to use them - exploring geometry with tangrams, games with graph paper or compasses. I love the ideas for verbal games and chats you can have any time, like guess the number - "Add half of me to myself and you get six - what am I?". We play these in the car, or at the table - and the most important rule is always let your kids ask the questions too! Of course you learn even more from posing a question than from trying to figure one out. Mine love to use huge numbers like a million googleplex, assuming the bigger the number the harder the question! There are some great strategy guides for constructing and solving these kinds of puzzles too, as well as heaps of examples, so even if maths wasn't your thing the games aren't overwhelming. There are even book ideas for maths story time - my kids love many of these books, and readalouds are a great way to introduce and cement concepts like fractions and negative numbers in a concrete way.
Gaskins also includes a historical perspective, including puzzles explored by great mathematicians through the ages, and a whole chapter on practical implementation - how does this approach even work on a day-to0day basis? She provides everything from an example weekly outline of activities to tips around controversial topics like counting on fingers and memorisation, including a special section on those who struggle with maths.
I should note that I was sent a ARC of this new edition, although I already owned an earlier digital copy. I was so glad of the opportunity to remind myself of Gaskins' insight and creative approach; sadly, the mainstream attitude to maths is focused far more on attempting to attain measurable outcomes and far less on introducing the student to the beauty and joy and fun that maths can be. It's hard to remember, and easy to get anxious about sticking to perceived 'benchmarks' instead of cultivating an attitude of open-minded exploration that will hopefully lead to deeper understanding and pleasure in the study of mathematics. It's such a central subject for today's technology-centric world, and yet one which, when taught badly, can create so much unnecessary fear.
I bought Let's Play Math because I am home educating my 6 year old daughter and wanting to get more confident with maths as her interest in numbers and ideas was growing. I know the way maths is usually taught in schools is limited and unhelpful but I didn't know what the alternative was. Denise Gaskins writes in a very clear, encouraging way, offering games and resources that my daughter loves. Reading this has changed the way I think about maths forever and I feel so much better resourced to support my daughter and her friends to explore the exciting world of maths.
This book is written for home educators and I believe it is an essential resource for us all. However I think it is also hugely relevant for school teachers and other educators - it could revolutionise the way maths is taught to children.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This is an amazing book stuffed full of very usable ideas. Too much for getting everything in one reading. I'll definitely be rereading and taking lots of notes.
Bottom line is yes, you should buy this. And yes, it's worth it. And no, you don't already have a book that's similar.
I am very impressed with this book.
Now, being a mom myself, I was looking for ideas of how to teach math to my son. It's really nice to get so many resources in one book. I have being using suggested games and websites right away with a great success. This is a great resource for parents,who actively participate in their children education. It's very inspiring.
Thank you for sharing.
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