Marvels of Math

Marvels of Math; Fascinating Reads and Awesome Activities by Kendall Haven. Englewood, CO: Teachers Ideas Press, 1998 ISBN 1-56308-585-2 172pp. $21.50

Kendall Haven is a former research scientist and the only West Point graduate ever to become a professional storyteller. He has won numerous awards for his work as a teller, writer, and advocate for the educational value of storytelling.

Like his book Stepping Stones To Science (see Vol 3 No 1, March, 1998) this is a collection of accounts of innovations, of breakthroughs. The stories show the development, history, and purpose of our modern math tools and concepts. They are real life dramas about the development of math and the people who invented it.
The stories are divided into four groups: the development of our number system, the development of geometry, the development of of mathematical concepts and applications, and the development of devices to aid in mathematical computations. They range in time period from 500 B.C. to 1992.Him

Haven writes a brief introduction to each story and defines terms which will help the reader I listener understand accounts more fully. He follows each story with follow-up questions, experiments and activities.

My 12 year old daughter was affronted to read that in France in the late 18th century, it was believed that women were incapable of mental concentration and indeed, that attempts to think too deeply would make them ill. You should have heard her when she read that even wives of professors were not allowed to visit the campus of the Ecole Normale let alone take classes. Of course she was gratified in the story to learn that a young woman, Sophie Germain, showed them all and later developed the theory of elasticity.

A great way to interest the reluctant math student and intrigue and delight the already converted. For use with grades 3-9.

The Second Story Review, Vol 3, No. 4, March 1998
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