I learned something last night from Santo at QED Insight. In his post Students Don’t Read Textbooks he wrote that textbook manufacturers place restrictions on authors so they can maintain profit levels.
These restrictions include reducing page count (each page costs money to print) and increasing topics (the more topics, the more they can charge). The result is a textbook covering lots of stuff in the shortest amount of space possible.
Doing math is not the time to save the trees.
I’ve said this to students at least 1,000 times. I use cloth diapers, so don’t think I’m a wasteful snot. I just know that to do math, you gotta write. A lot. And squishing things up when you do it never yields a happy ending.
So I was horrified to learn of this artificial condensing of math topics in textbooks. This led me to consider some alternatives.
You can find non-condensed math books in lots of places.
There are the Life of Fred books which offer math using stories. The Living Math! folks have done tons of reviews of math literature. And it doesn’t have to be contextual lit, either. Dan Bach at Dan’s Math is writing an algebra book to be released this summer that doesn’t have the restrictions mentioned above.
And you can find free stuff.
So there’s no reason students or parents have to tolerate this high priced, squished content textbook thing anymore.
Do you know of other math resources? Please share them in the comments.
- To Teach Math Successfully (lewrockwell.com)
- Wash. appellate court upholds math curriculum (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Khan Academy: the bad (inperc.com)
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