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Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail [Paperback]

Danica McKellar
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 24 2008
From a well-known actress, math genius and popular contestant on "Dancing With The Stars"—a groundbreaking guide to mathematics for middle school girls, their parents, and educators

As the math education crisis in this country continues to make headlines, research continues to prove that it is in middle school when math scores begin to drop—especially for girls—in large part due to the relentless social conditioning that tells girls they “can’t do” math, and that math is “uncool.” Young girls today need strong female role models to embrace the idea that it’s okay to be smart—in fact, it’s sexy to be smart!

It’s Danica McKellar’s mission to be this role model, and demonstrate on a large scale that math doesn’t suck. In this fun and accessible guide, McKellar—dubbed a “math superstar” by The New York Times—gives girls and their parents the tools they need to master the math concepts that confuse middle-schoolers most, including fractions, percentages, pre-algebra, and more. The book features hip, real-world examples, step-by-step instruction, and engaging stories of Danica’s own childhood struggles in math (and stardom). In addition, borrowing from the style of today’s teen magazines, it even includes a Math Horoscope section, Math Personality Quizzes, and Real-Life Testimonials—ultimately revealing why math is easier and cooler than readers think.

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Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail + Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who's Boss + Hot X: Algebra Exposed!
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Review

This groundbreaking book is just what this country needs -- Dr Sally Ride, first American woman in space McKellar is probably the only person on prime-time television who moonlights as a cyberspace math tutor New York Times Maths Doesn't Suck is well explained, fun and rigorous. A great balance between emphasising 'you can do this' while also recognising sometimes you have to work at things that are worthwhile. Danica makes it clear that girls can be smart and cool Mary Wimbury, Director, UK Mathematics Trust Well written and entertaining ... I would very much welcome anything that may help to increase the percentage of girls taking maths -- Dr Dorothy Duffy, London Centre of Nanotechnology, University College London --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Danica McKellar is the bestselling author of Kiss My Math, Hot X: Algebra Exposed, and, most recently, Girls Get Curves. Best known for her roles on The Wonder Years and The West Wing, Danica McKellar is also an internationally recognized mathematician and advocate for math education. A summa cum laude graduate of UCLA with a degree in Mathematics, Danica has been honored in Britain’s esteemed Journal of Physics and The New York Times for her work in mathematics, most notably for her role as co-author of a groundbreaking mathematical physics theorem, which bears her name (The Chayes-McKellar-Winn Theorem.) Her passion for promoting girls’ math education began in 2000, when she was invited to speak before Congress on the importance of women in math and science. Since then, Danica has made it a priority to find time in her busy acting schedule to promote math education, often appearing around the country as a speaker at national mathematics conferences.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for kids! May 31 2011
Format:Paperback
I wanted to brush up on my math skills since it was always my worst subject as a child. I love this book. I wish I had purchased it sooner to help my daughter when she was in middle school.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good buy Feb. 1 2010
By MJ
Format:Paperback
I bought this for my niece and I have been hearing how great this book is from her AND her parents. Apparently it got her interested in math so much. I would buy it for my daughter soon as she just turned 9.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Finally math is understood Nov. 4 2009
Format:Paperback
I homeschool my daughters and my 10 year old has hated math for many years. I bought this book hoping it might appeal to her and it has! Even more than I had expected! She now LOVES her math lessons and is confident in the subjects explained. Danica has a great way of making mnemonics and other techniques to remember math concepts. We recommend this book and will be buying the sequel very soon!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  229 reviews
261 of 271 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imagine "Teen Cosmo" publishing INTRO TO JUNIOR-HIGH MATH Aug. 4 2007
By Thomas Richardson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
When I was seven, my mother got a Mathematics degree. At 29, I got my own Mathematics degree -- and of 60 people that day who got Math bachelor degrees then and there with me, only three were women. My mother proved, and those three co-graduating women proved, and Danica proves now, that women can learn math. But that's not what junior-high and high school girls think, is it? Most teen girls think they're math-morons.

Danica has written this book for such math-panicked teen girls -- Danica has written this book not only to TEACH them, but to ENCOURAGE them: "You can learn this!"

The math covered in Danica's book is junior-high level -- Danica presumes that the reader already knows how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide; then Danica takes the reader up through Algebra I. Danica's math is solid; and Danica's explanations, easy to understand.

But this is not your brother's math book. If you flipped through the book quickly, not reading the text, the illustrations and all the girly-handwriting would make you think that it was a book about teen fashion. The book also has chapter headings like no other math book I've seen -- Chapter 7, for instance, is entitled, "Is Your Sister Trying to Cheat You Out of Your Fair Share? (Comparing Fractions)." Chapter 9, on complex fractions, starts out, "Say you're trying on an outfit for a party. You've got the dress, the shoes, and the earrings -- and now you're choosing the right necklace...."

Danica also includes three "testimonials" (profiles) of young women who are successful in their careers because they've mastered math. Rather than show three "Ugly Betties" or nerdettes, the three women profiled are BABES.

To me, the most amazing thing about her book is that she tells the "blank quiz" story about herself: In a seventh-grade math class, "[w]hen the bell rang and my quiz was still blank, I wanted to disappear into my chair. I just didn't want to EXIST."

When I read this book, I learned something. Not about math, but about people. Junior-high girls, in particular. I give this book a 4.99999999999999999...-star rating.
134 of 140 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makeup and math? Hallelujah! Aug. 2 2007
By Julie Neal - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What will this book teach your daughter? That she can work out math problems by herself. That she can learn to love math, and even excel at it. And that she can do these things while still being every bit as girlie as she wants to be. Makeup and math? Yes, this book says, you can love them both.

Will girls read it? I think so, because, unlike so many academic texts, "Math Doesn't Suck" is so much more than a study guide. Author McKellar -- yes, Winnie Cooper from "The Wonder Years" but also a summa cum laude math grad from UCLA -- combines a step-by-step approach to middle-school math concepts with lots of personal anecdotes (such as how she once struggled with particular math problems) as well as stories of how other feminine women have excelled in the subject. Also adding some insight is McKellar's 12-year-old goddaughter, Tori.

Best of all, McKellar makes her points well. Each chapter is devoted to just one topic (i.e., decimals, or factoring) and uses real-life situations (baby-sitting, shopping) that really make things easy to understand.

Overall the book's chapter titles are a little too pink-and-purple for my tastes, but then again I'm not the target audience. I'm not 13, striving to define myself while getting Paris Hilton, the Pussycat Dolls and Hooters commercials driven into my brain. Girls can be smart AND feminine? Math is for them? Say amen, somebody!
87 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars math for the masses in junior and high school classes May 5 2008
By Michael R. Chernick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This Danica is as good looking as the racing Danica and a great actress. She's a math whiz too. Well as a trained mathematician I can assure you that she proves in this book that she knows math, is proud of it and want other high school and junior high school girls to appreciate it too. The book is filled with interesting ways of teach junior and senior high school math that makes it fun and exciting. She would be a great teacher too. I think her goal is to be a role model for other girls who have an aptitude for mathematics. Girls have always been discouraged and discriminated against in this field. I remember at my high school I was the best math student but Linda Cirillo was a close second. Yet I was the one who got the encouragement and her talents were ignored. Years later I came back to my home town and found that while I was now a professional mathematician she was a house wife raising children. I hope things have improved over the last forty years.

This is a great book to give a child in high school who needs a little help and boost of confidence in math. When an author ahs the art of making things exciting rather than boring the student may develop an interest and capability that he or she never dreamed of!
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for any middle school girl! Aug. 10 2007
By Kansas City Dale - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I came across this book based on a news article about Danica McKellar. As the proud father of two middle school aged children (one boy and one girl) I am already seeing how differently boys are treated than girls when it comes to Math and Science. The schools seem to teach math from the male point of view. I can easily explain a math concept to my son and he can understand it, but I have not been able to explain the same concept to my daughter.
The book arrived last week, and my daughter seems to always have her nose in it. The book isn't designed to be read cover to cover, but to jump around as topics interest you. We had terrible problems last year with fractions, but after reading the section of fractions, my daughter claims that "she gets it". I have never seen my daughter excited about Math like this. If you have a middle school daughter who is struggling with the concepts, this is a must read for her.

My only complaint is that Danica hasn't written a survival guide for science yet! I am ordering a second book as a gift for the 6th grade math teacher to help with other girls who are struggling.
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book isn't just for young girls Aug. 20 2007
By Robert G Yokoyama - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Having good math skills makes a person a better shopper and a better chef. Having good math skills simply makes an individual more confident in all areas of life. This is the message of this well written book. McKellar takes a step by step approach to math. I liked looking at the examples she provides, as I tried to solve the problems she includes in each chapter. Math Doesn't Suck is a good refresher for me, because I forgot a lot of things from my school days. I also learned new concepts like how to figure out rates and ratios. I enjoyed doing the fraction problems and algebra problems. They were challenging and fun for me to solve. I also enjoyed reading the testimonals from women who use math in their daily lives. There were interesting contributions from students and teachers and other professionals. I loved the contribution from Stephanie Peterson. She uses math on the job as a petroleum analyst, and she is also a professional actress. McKellar also shares personal experiences from her life. McKellar is an intelligent successful and humble young woman. Math Doesn't Suck is an educational and inspirational book. I loved it.
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