I'm always on the lookout for great math history books, and recently picked up

This large cow caught me some flak from a farmer on Facebook. A 1-ton dairy cow is on the larger side of the range. Some cows weigh less than a ton, some weigh more. As an aside, my friend Karrie from Mrs. E Teaches Math recently visited a dairy farm and learned that cows produce 8-10 gallons of milk... per day! I would have estimated 3 gallons.

__Innumeracy__by John Allen Paulos. The way a book reads is really important to me. Even though I don't consider myself innumerate, I also know that math is infinite and I could study it all my life and never learn it all, so I like books that read in an approachable way. I liked the way a few test pages read, so brought the book home.__Innumeracy__already had me hooked by the end of the updated preface. Then came this passage on page 8:

*"I'm always amazed and depressed when I encounter students who have no idea what the approximate population of the United States is, or the approximate distance from coast to coast..."*

About how heavy is a cow? A car? How big is an ounce? How about a gram? Tax on a $40 item? Tip on a $50 meal? Estimation has been hypothesized to be our "sixth sense", and when I think about it, some numbers are just really hard (for me, at least) to visualize.

How much bigger is a billion than a million? Where's 1,000,000,000?

This immediately got me thinking about making some approximate sizes posters for students so that they have some easy, relatable images to reference. Most are customary measurements, but I've never not had to look up the size of a gram, so I threw in a raisin, too.

This large cow caught me some flak from a farmer on Facebook. A 1-ton dairy cow is on the larger side of the range. Some cows weigh less than a ton, some weigh more. As an aside, my friend Karrie from Mrs. E Teaches Math recently visited a dairy farm and learned that cows produce 8-10 gallons of milk... per day! I would have estimated 3 gallons.

If you'd like the set of approximate sizes posters for your classroom, they are here in my dropbox.

After posting on social media, I got some more book recommendations. I haven't read any of these yet except for Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, which is one of my ALL-TIME favorite books:

__Infinite Powers__by Steven Strogatz

__Humble Pi__by Matt Parker

__Here's Looking at Euclid__by Alex Bellos

__Weapons of Math Destruction__by Cathy O'Neil

__Mathematics for Human Flourishing__by Francis Su

__The Housekeeper and the Professor__by Yoko Ogawa

__Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics__by Peter Liljedahl

__Pi in the Sky__by John D. Burrow

__The Joy of X__by Steven Strogatz

__Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea__by Charles Seife

__How to Cut a Cake__by Ian Stewart

__100 Percent of Nothing__(Black Brick Publishing)

__A History of Pi__by Petr Beckmann

**More posts:**

Dates and number lines also interest my students and me! We looked at the dates of pythagoras , the birth year of the USA and 2021 on a number line. Kids had no idea- the span of time

ReplyDeleteGreat idea. My daughter was talking last night about infinity hurting her brain. Timelines are other numbers that are hard to visualize. My favorite-- tyrannosaurus rex and present day are closer together on Earth's timeline than tyrannosaurus and stegosaurus.

DeleteLove these approximate sizes posters, any chance of a metric set? And yes timelines are fantastic, pupils have no idea...

ReplyDelete