Actress (and math major) Danica McKellar has a new book about math targeted to girls: Kiss My Math: showing Pre-Algebra Who's Boss. Based on the book's description, it's definitely got a girly vibe:

Stepping up not only the math, but also the sass and style,Even though I don't remember finding pre-algebra particularly daunting, I sure don't remember it being glamorous either. It's hard to remember exactly what my Junior High School-self was like, but I was definitely shy and self-conscious. I suspect that adding personal quizes and boyfriend talk (*blush* *blush* would have been my response to that) would have made math class a bit uncomfortable and less appealing to me. But obviously, not every girl is like that. As Veronica at Viva La Feminista points out:Kiss My Mathwill help math-phobic teenagers everywherechill outabout math, and finally “get” negative numbers, variables, absolute values, exponents, and more. Each chapter features:

• Step-by-step instruction

• Time-saving tips and tricks

• Illuminating practice problems with detailed solutions

• Real-world examples

• True stories from Danica’s own life as a student and actressKiss My Mathalso includes more fun extras--including personality quizzes, reader polls, and real-life testimonials-- ultimately revealing why pre-Algebra is easier, more relevant, and more glamorous than girls think.

While I didn't quite like the concept of teaching "girl" math, there is a real need to make science, math & engineering more girl-friendly. Even I, the math nerd I am, zoned out each time we had to do a problem about shooting two bullets or when two rockets would meet. I'd rather spend time trying to figure out how long it would take a fish to outswim a predator. McKellar is sticking to her girly examples and well, I have to admit, I bet it works.I like the idea of a making math more appealing to girls, as long as there is no assumption that this is an approach that would necessarily turn on every girl to the glamorous world of pre-algebra.

Here is some video of Danica McKellar talking about girls and math:

- During her appearance on GMA she talks about examples used in the book, "including how to figure out the average number of times your boyfriend texted you during the week." (There was definitely no text messaging when I was in Junior High!)
- Amazon.com video: "A girl leans to love math"
- Amazon.com video: "Math is not scary"
- Amazon.com video: "Math does not suck"

ETA: McKellar was interviewed by Ira Flatow on this week's Science Friday show.

(via Zuska)

Tags: mathematics, education, Danica McKellar

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