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Math Made Visual: Creating Images for Understanding Mathematics (Classroom Resource Material)

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0883857465
ISBN-10: 0883857464
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Editorial Reviews


This is a superb book. If you only buy one book for your own or your departmental library this year, this would be an excellent choice...I thoroughly recommend this book to teachers, mathematics educators, students and anyone interested in the visual side of mathematics. --Mary Coupland, Australian Mathematics Teacher

This wonderful book is a fitting edition to the Classroom Resource Materials series. Indeed any teacher of mathematics at the high school level or above should have a copy. Let me take that a bit further: anyone with an interest in mathematics should have a copy! While I ended up reading it pretty much straight through, this is a wonderful reference book which can be consulted whenever one is stuck for a way to make a concept come to life or for an activity to get students involved in mathematics.

The first two-thirds of the text consists of a wonderful set of examples of how visualization can aid understanding and inspire exploration. Each section ends with a set of challenges for the reader. These problems would make wonderful projects for pre-service high school teachers -- many of them can be implemented in Geometer's Sketchpad. The final section of the book consists of hints for solving these challenges. Sandwiched between these two sections is a short section providing suggestions as to how these ideas can be used in a classroom. While technology would certainly help, many of the hints involve simple paper folding and cutting. Geometer's Sketchpad would certainly suffice to create most all of the 2-dimensional figures.

Part I consists of 20 short chapters each with several related concepts. These chapters are only loosely related to one another and assume minimal mathematical background on the part of the reader. They seem designed with browsing in mind. If you are stuck for a way to explain a concept or for nice examples spend a few minutes with Math Made Visual. Here are a few samples. I am not going to attempt a summary as the book has no 'plot' -- just a wonderful collection of short stories!

Chapters 1 through 4 demonstrate ways to represent numbers (and their sums and products) using geometric elements (triangular numbers), line segments, areas, and finally volumes. The formula 1 + 2 + ... + n = n(n + 1)/2 is derived in several interesting ways, all of them, I suspect, more convincing to students than the standard proof by induction. This formula and others (sum of the odd numbers, sum of the first in squares, etc) are then illustrated using line segments, areas, and volumes in subsequent chapters.

As one might expect, the Pythagorean Theorem shows up early and often. There is also a very nice proof of Herron's formula for the area of a triangle. We also encounter proofs of several of the standard trigonometric identities including Ptolemy's Theorem.

...A review of this sort can't do this book justice. To appreciate it you have to see it. The visuals (and the wonderfully clear text which accompanies them) are wonderfully conceived and masterfully executed. This is a book you will find yourself picking up again and again. --Richard Wilders, MAA Reviews

Book Description

The object of this book is to show how visualization techniques may be employed to produce pictures that have interest for the creation, communication and teaching of mathematics. The authors describe methods to visualize mathematical ideas, with applications to concrete cases, and practical approaches for making visualizations in the classroom.

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Product Details

  • Series: Classroom Resource Materials
  • Hardcover: 172 pages
  • Publisher: The Mathematical Association of America (April 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0883857464
  • ISBN-13: 978-0883857465
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,669,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for my MA501 class at Northern Michigan University. This was a summer class - 4 weeks long and this book was the required text.

I was very disappointed in the number of typos in this book. The authors should be rather embarrassed by this. I know, usually no book is exempt from some sort of mistake, but this book is littered with them! Then to make matters worse, there are some problems that are just flat incorrect. One good point is, the authors do attempt to give answers to every question in the book - but even those were wrong on occasion! There is NOT a lot of substance to this book in terms of explanation either. It's almost like this is a hodgepodge of work slammed together to make a text. I did enjoy part two - which was a bit more written.

The math in this book is very well. The authors DID get this right. They show many different ways proofs can occur without long written statements and rather by simple pictures. The topic in math is an upcoming theme and I think will be integrated more and more into future mathematics of education.

Although I DO recommend this book - It's a shame the authors didn't put a little more time into the mechanics part of their work. When one pays $50 for a book - errors should be scarce if not nonexistent.
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Format: Hardcover
I animate math for educators at Shader Joes dot com animation studio so I love the VERY FEW books out today that promote visual math education. The best of the best I've ever found (at a reasonable price) is Kiran Desai's: Mathematical Recurrence Relations: Visual Mathematics Series. It even shows visual and tabular solutions for linear equations and degree 5 polynomials!

The demand for Math Made Visual is high, and it comes and goes on Amazon. When supply is down, it's been as high as $400, so if you can get it reasonably, do so! Abe books (Amazon's partner) often has it good condition used for about $60 and the original publisher (Math Assn of America) has it as PDF or print on demand (ie new) for about $50 as another reviewer said, with high shipping (min $12) included in that number. They distribute though Cadmus Journal Services, which I wish Amazon would buy, because they offer many expensive items at great prices like Abe.

There are typos and errors, but as with many on demand books, this is the luck of the draw on which file the printer uses. I've seen four so far which vary greatly on typos. That said, to be fair, they are mostly in rush to press descriptions which don't really take away from the value of the book. If you get all emotional or huffy about mistakes, don't get this, but if you really are more interested in content, don't sweat it. The PDF is uniformly better, but then you have the LaTex symbology trade off issue, as with much math on Kindle.

The coverage is basically advanced High School and is excellent.
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