Mathematics: A Human Endeavor

Although this book by Harold Jacobs incorporates a friendly writing style, cartoons and comic strips, and puzzles and games, this is not an "I hate mathematics" book. The goal of the author is for us to really understand math and its relationship to the world around us. Jacobs addresses such topics as inductive and deductive reasoning, number sequences, functions, graphs, scientific notation, logarithms, geometry, curves, combinations and permutations, probability, and statistics. Text is very clear and readable, with lots of review questions included right in the text to make sure you understand concepts as you read. (You'll even be slinging around math terms like rhombicuboctahedron.) Exercises and experiments are also prominent.

So at what point in math instruction would you use this book? A couple of options come to mind. You might consider this a math reference book, and read pertinent sections when you come to the same topic in your basic math course. Perhaps this could be part of your test preparation for a standardized test. Or you could use it late in high school as a summary course; since sections are short and explanations are clear, this might be a good wrap-up course to tie it all together.

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