Middle School Math: Podcasts and Reading Recs

05 FEB 2022

Has your child always had a mind of numbers? Maybe they thrive in math classes, or have become obsessed with monopoly, predicting their GPA scores, or Sudoku.  Middle school is an excellent time to support this talent and/or interest, as getting your child ahead in math can enable them to later take advanced math courses in high school, thereby supporting their future college applications.  Apart from the tutoring and extra classes, an affordable, accessible way to further support your child’s interests in math is to expose them to math-related podcasts and books. 

Let's talk about the top podcast and books Crimson Rise recommends for math-inclined middle school students:

Math Books for Middle Schoolers:

1) Math   Dictionary   for   Kids:   The   Essential   Guide   to   Math   Terms, Strategies,   and   Tables  by Theresa Fitzgerald – Featuring over 400 definitions of mathematical terminology back with full-color, illustrated definitions, this book is an essential reference for math-inclined middle schoolers. With mathematical terms ranging from “addend” to “zero” and everything in between, this book features concise explanations to the most commonly-used terms in middle school and early high school math classes. 

2) Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle-School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail by Danica McKellar – Statistics show that by middle-school more boys than girls will start to prefer STEM-related subjects, largely due to the unfortunate and incorrect conditioning that girls “can’t do math” or that math is “uncool.” Author Danica McKellar is on a mission to prove that girls can do math; she provides both female students and their parents with the practical tools needed to succeed in the subject. This book provides hip, real-world examples with step-by-step instructions and stories to keep students engaged and entertained – there are even math personality quizzes and math horoscopes! 

3) 100 Math Brainteasers by Zbigniew Romanowicz – If your child seems to whiz through their math homework, hungry for more, this is the perfect book for them! The book features 100 various arithmetic, algebra, and geometry assignments starting from grade 7 all the way through grade 10, serving as great high-school prep. The author, Professor Romanowicz, is a two-time bronze medal recipient at the International Championships of Mathematical and Logical Games and has an impressive international academic career. 

4) 40 Fabulous Math Mysteries Kids Can’t Resist by Marcia Miller – If your child loves math and mystery novels, this is just the book for them! Aimed at middle school students of all ages, this book features humorous math stories to inspire your child to use their logical thinking and reasoning in a new, creative way.  

5) The   Sir   Cumference   Book   Series   (10   books   in   total)  by Cindy Neushwander – King Arthur was a good ruler, but now, he needs a good ruler! When his kingdom is threatened by war, he calls in his strongest knights, but when his conference table causes problems, he calls in Sir Cumference, his wife Lady Di of Ameter, and their son Radius to solve the problem.  Aided by the carpenter Geo of Metry, this team works together to design the perfect round table for King Arthur and his knights. Subsequent books feature geometry explored through other characters, such as the dragon of Pi and the Fracton Fairy! 

Math Podcasts for Middle Schoolers: 

1) Mic Drop Maths:  “Dear   Decimal” - The Mic Drop Maths podcast is created a hosted by math teachers and early middle school students in Montpellier, VA, and is accessible to students all over the globe! While each episode features a different element of math, the “Dear Decimal” episode explores what it’s like to be a decimal. The trials and tribulations of separating the whole numbers from their parts are examined from a decimal’s perspective, bringing in an element of fun as well as getting the students to think about their mathematical skills from a whole new perspective. If your child likes this episode, feel free to explore the others in this series!  

2) Radiolab for Kids: “For   the   Love   of   Numbers”     -  Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, renown Radiolab hosts, have expanded their repertoire to also feature the Radiolab for Kids podcast which is perfect for middle-schoolers! In support of a middle schooler’s desire for independence, this show has a similar format to other Radiolab series, but the topics are geared toward middle school aged students. In their “For the Love of Numbers” episode, Radiolab for Kids explores the emotional connection people carry with their favorite number, as well as examines how numbers are a part of our daily life. They also feature real-life applications, such as why KFC (Kentucky Friend Chicken) uses 11 spices in their signature original recipe rather than 10! 

3)   TED Radio Hour: “Don’t   Fear   Math” - Hosted by Guy Raz, this episode explores the question, “What would happen to society if people were not math literate?” Various answers are suggested, and an audience ranging from math teachers in Australia to Russia explore how math instruction varies throughout the globe and how it affects students. The idea that math is really made up of questions, not just numbers to solve, is also central to this podcast, encouraging the natural curiosity of math-inclined middle-schoolers.  

So, the next time your child brings home a high mark on a math assessment, complains that math at school is too easy, or simply wants to have their interests supported in a fun and educational way, try suggesting one of these books and/or podcasts. They will get to indulge in a subject they are passionate about while advancing in a way that will benefit their college application in future! 

Your friendly neighbourhood Rise blogger, 

Gala

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