A math-loving eighth grader applies mathematical concepts to problems in her social life.
According to the book jacket, the author has a degree in mathematics and writes pieces for many periodicals. In this book, aimed at young teenagers, she uses notation and ideas from middle school algebra courses in the context of the usual teenage dilemmas. For instance:
|(quoted from Do the Math: Secrets, Lies, and Algebra)|
We're spending a lot of time studying inequalities in algebra now, which makes sense, since who you're greater than (>) and who you're less than (<) is kind of the point of eight grade. So when I finished putting more paper in the top tray, I stepped aside and said "Go ahead" because we both knew that Richard was > me (R>T).
This innovative book captures the essence of middle school life and engages the mathematical and creative interests of young readers. I read this book with a small group of 11 to 15 year olds and they loved the combination of mystery, math and tales of teenage life. It's a great educational tool... and a great read!
This book is brilliant. If you love math, you'll be amazed at how the author uses the theoretical to describe human relationships and events. If you hate math, this book will give you a new appreciation for the elusive concepts you never thought you'd ever need again. If you're afraid of math, this book will make it accessible in a way it never has been before and it's all accomplished through the backdrop of a great story. Lichtman captures the voice and social culture of adolescence and so seamlessly weaves math concepts throughout that you don't even realize you're learning algebra. This book should be required reading for every teen taking algebra and for every parent who might be asked to help with homework.
The author, Wendy Lichtman, has written a revealing essay that has been posted on the Website of Powell's Book Service. Click here to read it.
The sequel, Do the Math: The Writing on the Wall, appeared in 2008.
The literary quality is not the best, because in my opinion, I don't like how two things are going on at the same time (cheating at school and murder out of school). But the way the math is used is very creative and is what is actually taught in 8th grade.
This novel is a clever way to teach math. Geared towards middle school readers, it explains numerous mathematical ideas by using real-world examples. For instance, Venn diagrams are used to describe the common traits that two characters have.
As for the story, it is definitely written for a younger audience. That said, older readers can enjoy this book too, whether they are a parent who wants to find innovative was to teach math to their children, or older readers who are looking for inspiration on how to write math fiction.