Don Cohen was born in Jersey City, N.J. He has a B.A. and M.A. from SUNY-Albany, NY and M.S.from RPI,in Troy, NY. He has taught all ages of students for 44 years, the last 22 of these as co-founder and teacher of The Math Program. After 7 years of teaching in a junior high school, he realized there must be a more enjoyable and effective way to teach math. He searched for alternatives. This led to designing new curriculum for N.Y. State; learning about mathematics and creativity from Bob Davis with The Madison Project; learning what real teaching is about by observing great teachers such as Sue Monell; teaching teachers; working on Plato (a computer-based education system at the U of I); all before Don and his partner invented The Math Program. These are the good old days! Don has three fine sons and six terrific grandchildren. He is a watercolor artist (see cover).
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Calculus as everyone should first come to know it!Sept. 3 1999
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Calculus By and For Young People-- Worksheets by Don Cohen is a book of wonderfully visual worksheets which lead young people (and their parents ) into the joy and science that is math at its best. Somewhere between kindergarten and high school graduation the concept of math as a joyful, experimental science disappeared for most of us. The drudgery of repetitious arithmetic with right and wrong answers is NOT the approach taken in Cohen's book. My kids are primarily visual learners who do math in a non linear fashion and suffer with current school curriculum. The workbook's emphasis on ideas rather than methods has supported their learning style and increased their confidence. The author and the young students who work with him present calculus in a format which can be (and is) followed by seven year olds, yet is clear and appealing to all ages. The workbook has been designed by someone familiar with keen problem solvers, as well as math phobes, or those who have become math shy as a result of the standard right/wrong approach. Best of all parent input is rarely needed, (speaking of calculus phobes). Each page deals with options for solving involved calculus problems. You have to flip over the page to see the next step (which helps with my sons who are speed readers and often read the solution before mulling over the problem). All kinds of problem solving options are explored and discussed, with an emphasis on pattern recognition and visual and practical methods of examining calculus problems. Lots of examples share the ways other people solved the problem and explain why they tried what they did in a truly collaborative fashion. The book is designed to be used to work on observing (creating) and solving problems. It is not a text or a curriculum based book. It is a wonderful way to introduce any keen or math shy child to the joy of working on and solving what appear to be difficult problems using examples from real life. Despite the visual format there is a refreshing lack of cute characters or sugary language. You don't need to be a math whiz kid to use this book. Basic knowledge of math and a mind open to exploring are enough to get you in the door and down the path (solving common physical puzzles like the shuttle puzzle and the tower puzzle on your way). In a very nice touch, graph paper of different sizes useful for physically and visually working out the problems, is included in a format for copying at the back of the workbook. Highly recommended!
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Constructing Calculus Concepts-a Method for all AgesJan. 27 1997
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Sure, your children are doing great in elementary school, and that's probably due to the time you have taken to work with them...to prepare them for school. But do you ever wonder what will happen to that success later on when the concepts get tougher--like when they study calculus?
Your children CAN be ready for calculus--and Don Cohen's book, written for young people by young people, will prepare them. "Calculus By and for Young People" will empower your children to construct the conceptual associations necessary to understand calculus. It is as simple as that!
A specialist in Instructional Design and Psychology and a veteran, myself, of calculus training at Iowa State University of Science and Technology, I have used Don's book with learners age 8 through 72 (you are never too old) for three years now. Don's stuff is EXCITING! I give his books as Christmas presents to my favorite nieces and nephews. I take copies of the book on trips, and PLAY at math with the children at the homes I visit.
With Don as a guide and mentor, I love to play with mathematics. I have seen my students jump up in the air with glee when they solve one of Don't challenges--or giggle as they work at an assignment. I have a video tape of my students at work with Cohen's materials. Watching it always amazes me. This is education at its best.
Don Cohen and you. What a team, working together to help your children reach their potential in tomorrow's world.
P.S. Don't think this book is kid-stuff. Your high school student, or college student will benefit from Don's training as much as your younger child. Don't be surprised when your son or daughter confides: "I've been working on this calculus stuff all year, and getting A's, but I never really understood what it all meant, or what I was doing, until I worked through this book. Gee, thanks for helping me out."
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Conversations about math with kids...June 29 2005
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Don Cohen's book testifies to his love of math and kids. While other reviewers speak of how informative, diverse, and refreshing his book is, I want to make a few brief comments on materials required and what instruction for young children presumes. (1) Children will have to know about number lines, fractions-to-decimals, and will have to be curious. (2) This is definitely not a remedial book for the un-curious. (3) The methods in this book are really for small group tutorials. (4) This book requires that the teacher understand high school geometry and algebra. (5) It is very helpful to have graphing calculators or a computer that kids can use to write programs in BASIC. (6) Students will learn about (in no particular order) topics in measurement, number theory and number patterns, algebraic thinking, geometric reasoning, and a little bit about graph theory. These materials are not simply about calculus.
Some of the more powerful things that children will learn are: (1) indexing of numbers; (2) fractions; (3) programming in BASIC; (4) iteration; (5) exponents, and e; (6) ratios (such as t he golden ratio, etc.). I had the hardest time with (7) continuing fractions, which are rarely taught these days and which, to me, are not intuitive.
Perhaps the word "intuitive" sums up Cohen's approach: his skills at math are sufficient enough that he can see connections and help youngsters intuit connections, which are then their "discoveries." He does not mind youngsters making mistakes, and he believes in constructionist math.
I used Cohen's materials in a summer program with first graders, to solve Zero's Paradox, which, in calculus terms is: What is the limit of the sum of (1/2)^nth power? It took five weeks of daily discussion to help them learn about fractions, adding fractions, fractions less than one, graphing the sum, and understanding the idea of when "close enough" is a "good enough" limit. We had a great time and the youngsters enjoyed the project.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
The ONLY text for EVERYONE to learn calculus!Aug. 19 1999
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I had been searching for years for a text that would enable me to teach myself calculus. So when I found Don's book I couldn't believe my eyes. I had always done very well in mathematics but there were always missing pieces: Don's book filled those gaps. I devoured the worksheet book with the excitement of a child. The puzzles are engaging, dare I say fun, never monotonous. I especially love the way Don relates the questions and exercises to everyday things: sunflowers, shells, spaghetti, why mice are nocturnal, etc. The book answers the questions WHY and HOW. I understand the college texts better and I believe I scored in the 95th percentile and up ONLY with the help of Don's book. It should be everyone's FIRST math book! As a math tutor my proficiency and my mathematical creativity have grown, it seems without bound, for Don's book makes new ideas flow out of my head! I conducted my first workshops this summer. One mom couldn't believe that the 7-10 year olds worked on infinite series and sums (CH 1&2), Fibonacci numbers (CH 7), and basic integrals (CH 13). Their level of understanding amazed even me! When asked if they wanted to have individual sessions after the workshop several children jumped up and down saying, "Yeah, yeah, yeah!!!" Parents get this book for your children AND yourselves. If you love math, get this book. If you hate, are afraid of or intimidated by math, DEFINITELY GET THIS BOOK! Go at your own pace and you will overcome your fears. Share what you learn with everyone you know. I believe only with this book will you begin to increase your confidence in all things mathematical and be enriched for a lifetime.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
UnrealisticOct. 4 2013
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I'm a math teacher and I have my own tutoring company. I've wanted to buy this book for a LONG time because I was so curious - how could a 7 year old do calculus?! I'm always searching for material that engages my really advanced young students (late elementary and middle school). I want to give them material that is a challenging version of whatever they're learning in school, instead of constantly moving them on to the next level of math. I thought this book would offer just that.
The two chapters could be done by a very motivated, intelligent 7 year old. Of those motivated, intelligent 7 year olds, few would be able to see the point that Don Cohen is trying to make. Few students this age know multiplication and fractions, though! More ideally, the first two chapters could reasonably be done by an intelligent, above-average 5th grader.
Chapter 3 and above, though? Some of the material is suitable for middle school students, some of it is just too abstract.
This book is designed for students who are seriously intrigued by math. I've worked with very advanced students, and this is still beyond most of them.
I also got this booked used for $19. I can't believe it's $150+. Trust me - get a used version! I thought this would be a mind-blowing math breakthrough. It's a more interesting read for math nerds like me who have already been through calculus.