Math for Middle-School Girls

HT to for pointing me at Math Doesn’t Suck, by Danica McKellar. It’s a math book aimed at middle- and high school girls. The main message seem to be a) math doesn’t suck, and isn’t as hard as you think it is, and b) if you’re smart, don’t hide it. Both worthwhile messages.

I haven’t read the book, so I don’t know whether it lives up to its hype, but if it leads to more women realizing that they can do math, then that’s all good.

Oh, and may I just point out, as a guy, that smart is teh sexy?

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3 Responses to Math for Middle-School Girls

  1. mcoletti says:

    Yes! Heartily agree that smart is teh sexy. And Ms. McKellar gets bonus points for being callipygian and having authored a paper. swoon

    And, FWIW, I got the linky from /.; so her web site is probably being pummeled by rabid geek boi fans.


  2. Troublesome Frog says:

    Oh, and may I just point out, as a guy, that smart is teh sexy?

    Totally seconded. I was just reminded of how good I have it when I went over the math behind eigenfaces with my wife over dinner. There’s nothing hotter than a woman who knows her vector spaces and basis functions. I could never figure out what was up with the guys who were intimidated by smart women.

    An interesting fact that I think that a lot of young ladies don’t realize is that life after highschool is really different from life in high school. The girls who were “too smart” and bookish in high school are the successful women who are fending men off with a stick in college, and they’re also the women who end up at the top of the ladder afterward.

    Learning to play the social game as a kid can certainly hone some useful skills for later in life, but playing it well to the exclusion of other skills is not usually a recipe for long term success. You can’t take your popularity points with you into the real world. Those scores get reset and you’re on your own in a very different game. Yesterday’s awkward geek is today’s confident, well-adjusted, successful adult. Funny how that works. Then again, I was told all of that as a kid, and I really only had an inkling of how true it is until I actually saw it firsthand in college and beyond.


  3. arensb says:

    I was just reminded of how good I have it when I went over the math behind eigenfaces with my wife over dinner.

    The mother of a friend of mine is the sweetest little old lady you can imagine. If you saw her, you’d immediately think of her baking pies for a church social in Minnesota or something.

    One time, she was making a quilt, and needed to cut triangles. She found that there was a continuum of ways to cut triangles out of a bolt of fabric, that wasted more or less space between triangles, or gave more or less of a “lip”. Unfortunately, neither she nor I can remember the details. At any rate, she just defined f(x), which increased with the quality of a triangle, and solved df/dx = 0 as if it were the most natural thing in the world.


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