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Annotated Bibliography of Mathematics Resources

December 1995

by Nancy L. Markus

Are you hoping to align your adult basic education teaching with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards? The following are recommended readings and activities that will help you implement an effective, successful mathematics program. These materials are of high quality, have practical use, are readily available, and are not typical GED® or pre-GED® textbooks. Current adult mathematics teachers throughout the United States have recommended the resources.

If you wish to purchase books, you can call or write the publisher directly (see information accompanying each annotation) or contact one of these companies. Many of the books are available from:
The Math Learning Center
P.O. Box 3226
Salem, Oregon 97302
(503) 370-8130
Fax: (503) 370-7961
Note: The Math Learning Center has no shipping charges for delivery within the United States.

Tricon Publishing
2150 Enterprise Drive
Mt. Pleasant, Michigan 48858
(517) 772-2811
Fax: (517) 773-5894

Please note that quoted prices are approximate and may vary slightly from publisher to publisher. Dale Seymour Publications are often available from other resources, such as those above, and often at a lower cost.

Many resources can be borrowed from your ABLE Regional Resource Centers. If you have trouble locating an item, contact the Ohio Literacy Resource Center.

Spaces: Solving Problems of Access in Engineering and Science
Project Director: Sherry Fraser
Curriculum Developers: Jean Stenmark, Diane Downier, Helen Joseph, Alice Kaseberg, Carol Campbell, Kay Gilliland, Virginia Thompson
Developed by: Lawrence Hall of Science (1982) University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720
(510) 642-1910
Cost: $18.00

This is a collection of activities designed to:
1) stimulate students' thinking about scientific careers;
2) develop problem-solving skills;
3) promote positive attitudes about scientific work;
4) strengthen spatial visualization skills; and
5) introduce language and familiarity with mechanical tools.
Students experience a range of mathematics topics in developing logical reasoning and problem-solving skills. Students estimate, guess, predict, and create mathematical or physical models, all of which are components of the scientific process.

Many activities involve six students in a cooperative activity, which incorporates reading and language. These activities are appropriate for pre-GED® and GED-level students.

Get It Together: Math Problems for Groups
Editor: Tim Erickson
Curriculum Developers: Bill Finzer, Lynne Alper, Paul Giganti, Sherry Fraser, Kay Gilliland, Gary Tsuruda,
Developed by: Lawrence Hall of Science (1989) University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720
(510) 642-1910
Cost: $18.00

This is a collection of cooperative-learning activities. The information the group needs to solve a problem has been put on clue cards. Each member of the group has a different bit of information, so everyone has to cooperate to solve the problem. This is an exceptionally easy format for teachers who want to begin using cooperative activities in mathematics.

Discussion about this method of solving problems has generated the following comments:

One advantage of this method is that there are fewer units to supervise, therefore the teacher can spend more time observing the students and their progress as they begin to "own" their problem-solving skills. Group work also appeals to more modalities and easily accommodates other disciplines in the math classroom. The success in solving problems is a big morale booster. All students, including pre-GED, ESL and advanced GED, benefit from learning to explain themselves more clearly and can work together on these activities. "Weak" students become effective and contributing group members, and "strong" students learn that they can get in the way of a group's solution. Learning to work together is an important skill in today's world.

Although the book lists the problems as being appropriate for grades 4-12, they are extremely appropriate for adult education students-- pre-GED, GED, and ESL.

Problems Plus: Mathematical Problem Solving
Developed by: Berrent Publications (1994)
1025 Northern Boulevard
Roslyn, NY 11576
Cost: $8.00

This series of short books (A through E, grade levels 1 through 5) includes critical-thinking strategies, higher-order thinking, multi-step problems, and open-ended questions. Each book contains three units. The first unit, Math Strategies, includes a five-step problem-solving plan that demonstrates two different ways to think about math problems. The second unit,Open-Ended Problems, focuses on real-life situations that require math problem solving. The last unit, Open-Ended Problems Plus, includes math "essay" questions that are more complex and may have several answers. A math scoring rubric is explained in this unit.

This book is easy to read and contains interesting problems. The problem-solving skills are very appropriate for pre-GED, GED, and ESL students.

Family Math
Authors: Jean Kerr Stenmark, Virginia Thompson, and Ruth Cossey
Developed by: Lawrence Hall of Science (1986) University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720
(510) 642-1910
Cost: $18.00

Family Math is about parents and children working together, learning to like mathematics, and doing activities that make math fun for children 5-12 years old. It can also be used in the pre-GED, GED, and ESL classroom. The topics include word problems, logical reasoning, measurement, geometry, spatial thinking, probability, statistics, calculators, estimation, and basic arithmetic.

This book is a valuable resource for all levels of adult basic and literacy education classes as well as family literacy programs such as Even Start.

Math for Smarty Pants
Author: Marilyn Burns
Publisher: Yolla Bolly Press (1982)
Cost: $12.00

This is a good resource book for teachers to use to help students develop thinking skills and to obtain problems for classwork. The activities offer a common-sense approach to math fundamentals for those students and teachers who are slightly terrified of math as well as those students and teachers who love math! The illustrations are geared to middle school students, although some adult students have found them delightful. The book could easily be used as a series of units to promote and teach problem solving.

Other Marilyn Burns books, such as The Book of Think: or How to Solve a Problem Twice Your Size (1976), a re also good resources for math thinking and problem solving. The Book of Think covers general problem-solving strategies and new ways of looking at math, as well as other parts of life.

GED® Math Problem Solver
Author: Myrna Manly
Publisher: Contemporary Books (1992)
Department S 92
180 N. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60601
(800) 621-1918
Cost: $8.25

Myrna Manly has been involved in the development of the official GED® math test. She developed this book to meet the "thinking" needs of students. This book teaches exactly what is needed for the GED® math test. It is concise and to the point. Students with a reading level of sixth or seventh grade can use this book. One difficulty with the book may be the open registration policy of most GED® classes because the book is sequential and it would be difficult for students to start in the middle. The format takes a bit of getting used to since the chapters are not "self-contained." For example, there is no "algebra" chapter; algebra is incorporated throughout the book.

The GED® Math Problem Solver has a very different approach than most other GED® books. It can be a wonderful resource book for both teacher and student.

Mental Math in the Primary Grades
Mental Math in the Middle Grades
Mental Math in Junior High
Authors: Jack A. Hope, Marbara J. Reys, and Robert E. Reys
Publisher: Dale Seymour Publications(1987)
P.O. Box 10888
Palo Alto, CA 94303
(800) 872-1100
Fax: (415) 324-3424

This series develops students' ability to calculate mentally without reliance on paper or pencil. It helps streamline their work in estimation and helps them better understand place value, mathematical operations, and basic number properties.
These books contain 50 reproducible lessons in five units which include:
1. Mentalmathlete page including anecdotes about experts in mental calculation and a special student challenge.
2. 7 - 8 lessons that introduce important strategies for calculating "in your head."
3. 2 - 3 "Mental Math in Daily Life" lessons.
4. A review page for practice.
5. A unit test.

The format is easy to use and builds the skills of both teacher and student. All answers are included.

When Are We Ever Gonna Have to Use This?
Author: Hal Saunders
Publisher: Dale Seymour Publications(1988)
P.O. Box 10888
Palo Alto, CA 94303
(800) 872-1100
Fax: (415) 324-3424
Cost: $10.00

Hal Saunders interviewed people representing 100 different occupations to find out what math topics they used and how they used them. Using their answers, he developed a chart and over 350 word problems that apply to each occupation. Problems explore percent, volume, formulas, probability, ratio and proportion, the Pythagorean theorem, measurement and conversion, fractions, decimals, averages, linear equations, statistical graphing, area and perimeter, and elementary algebra.

Mathematicians Are People, Too: Stories from the Lives of Great Mathematicians
Authors: Luetta Reimer and Wilbert Reimer
Publisher: Dale Seymour Publications
(1990) P.O. Box 10888
Palo Alto, CA 94303
(800) 872-1100
Fax: (415) 324-3424
Cost: $13.00

This book includes 15 stories about the lives of the people behind great mathematical discoveries. These stories c an be used for background information for teachers or for students to read and discuss. The reading level is pre-GED, but the information would be appropriate for all levels.

There are many math books that give tips and techniques to improve one's mental math skills. Many of these books deal with math anxiety also. One book, Where Do I Put the Decimal Point: How to Conquer Math Anxiety and Increase Your Facility with Numbers, is an excellent book that deals with patterns, whole numbers, decimals, fractions, proportions, percents and block algebra. Unfortunately this book (like many math books) is already out of print. Nevertheless, these types of books are often available at book stores at reduced prices. Teachers might want to look through the "half price" books in order to find worthwhile, inexpensive math books such as this one.

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