Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle-School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail

Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle-School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail

by Danica McKellar


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From a well-known actress, math genius and popular contestant on "Dancing With The Stars"—a groundbreaking guide to mathematics for middle school girls, their parents, and educators

As the math education crisis in this country continues to make headlines, research continues to prove that it is in middle school when math scores begin to drop—especially for girls—in large part due to the relentless social conditioning that tells girls they “can’t do” math, and that math is “uncool.” Young girls today need strong female role models to embrace the idea that it’s okay to be smart—in fact, it’s sexy to be smart!

It’s Danica McKellar’s mission to be this role model, and demonstrate on a large scale that math doesn’t suck. In this fun and accessible guide, McKellar—dubbed a “math superstar” by The New York Times—gives girls and their parents the tools they need to master the math concepts that confuse middle-schoolers most, including fractions, percentages, pre-algebra, and more. The book features hip, real-world examples, step-by-step instruction, and engaging stories of Danica’s own childhood struggles in math (and stardom). In addition, borrowing from the style of today’s teen magazines, it even includes a Math Horoscope section, Math Personality Quizzes, and Real-Life Testimonials—ultimately revealing why math is easier and cooler than readers think.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780452289499
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/01/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 86,569
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile: 910L (what's this?)
Age Range: 9 - 11 Years

About the Author

Danica McKellar is a New York Times bestselling author of groundbreaking math books, including Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math, Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape, Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who's Boss, Hot X: Algebra Exposed!, and the Goodnight, Numbers series of children's books, and is a summa cum laude graduate of UCLA with a degree in mathematics. She is also well known for her acting roles on The Wonder Years, The West Wing, and multiple Hallmark Channel movies, and as a quarterfinalist on Dancing with the Stars. She lives with her family in Los Angeles.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix
Math Used to Totally Suck     xv
FAQs: How to Use This Book     xix
Factors and Multiples Don't Suck
How to Make a Killing on eBay: Prime Numbers and Prime Factorization     1
Do You Still Have a Crush on Him? ON THE COVER!: Finding the Greatest Common Factor (GCF)     13
You Can Never Have Too Many Shoes: Multiples and the Lowest Common Multiple (LCM)     26
Are You a Mathophobe? ON THE COVER!     33
Fractions Don't Suck
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Pizza but Were Afraid to Ask: Introduction to Fractions and Mixed Numbers     38
How Many Iced Lattes Can These Actors Drink?: Multiplying and Dividing Fractions... and Reciprocals     51
When to Seriously Stop Raiding the Refrigerator: Equivalent Fractions and Reducing Fractions     61
Is Your Sister Trying to Cheat You Out of Your Fair Share?: Comparing Fractions     74
How Much Do You and Your Best Friend Have in Common?: Common Denominators... and Adding and Subtracting Fractions     85
Choosing the Perfect Necklace: Complex Fractions     95
Do You Have Trouble Focusing-Or Are You a "Focus Superstar"?     110
Decimals Don't Suck
What Every Savvy Shopper Should Know: All About Decimals     115
Why Calculators Would Make Terrible Boyfriends: Converting Fractions and Mixed Numbers toDecimals     136
How to Entertain Yourself While Babysitting a Devil Child: Converting Decimals to Fractions     150
What's Your Math Horoscope?: ON THE COVER! See What the Stars Say About You and Math!     157
Percents Join the Party... and They Don't Suck, Either
Sale of the Century!: Converting Percents to and from Decimals and Fractions     163
A Choreographed Performance: Mixing Fractions, Decimals, and Percents Together     176
Word Problems Don't Suck
The Universal Language of Love... and Math: Introduction to Word Problems and "Percent Of"/"Percent Off"     185
Does She Ever Get Off the Phone?: Ratios     194
The Perks of a Southern Drawl: Rates and Unit Rates     202
Filmmaker Extraordinaire!: Proportions     211
Are You Drinking Enough Water?: Unit Conversions     227
What's Your Learning Style?     235
Even Algebra Doesn't Suck
Who's the Cute New Foreign Exchange Student?: Introduction to "Solving for x"     241
Romeo and Juliet: Introduction to "Solving for x" in Word Problems     257
Troubleshooting Guide: Where to Turn When You Don't Know What to Do!     265
The Smart Girl's Resource Guide     281
Multiplication Tables     283
Answer Key     285
Index     294
About the Author      297

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Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle-School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 53 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a 28 year old who has always hated math. After several years of falling behind my class and failing the subject repeatedly I finally decided I will just never 'get it'. Then I found this book. It's entertaining, easy, and I completely understand the lessons!! I am even looking for additional math exercises just so I can practice what I am learning! I can't believe it. I am so happy I would give Danica McKellar a huge hug if I had the chance.
Fable_Wright More than 1 year ago
Hi my name is Adriana, Im in 8th grade and i am absolutly loving math! Ahhh i cant believe i just said that! For years math has been my worst subject. I had always dreaded the day because of that one period. I would look at the math mumbo-jumbo and be like "Why does everybody get this and i cant???" In sixth grade i totally flunked the Florida, Comprehension, Assesment test (Fcat) and had to be placed in two math classes to make up for it. I learned alot in those two periods but was still not to sure about my FCAT. . . So one day my dad was at Barnes & Noble and he picked up this book, my first reaction to the title was "yes it does, geez are you stupid?" but i actually read the first chapter and it completly changed my look on math it taught me the basics i had completly missed in the 6th grade! once i learned these basics i read the next book and also fell completly in love! This year im at the top of my class and im now preparing for FCAT with her third book I LOVE IT! So basicly. . . Math Dosent Suck - 6th grade Kiss My Mat - 7th grade Hot X Algebra Exposed - 8th grade Hope I Helped
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a 7th grade Geography teacher and I keep a library of books that are interesting to my students. Not just the regular 'teacher' style books. This one is on the shelf next to the Twilight series, a very, very high compliment in the 7th grade!
PennyNomenclature More than 1 year ago
I bought this book for my 12-year-old daughter and wound up reading it myself. My daughter isn't a girly girl, so some of the examples were a little too cute for her, but, McKellar explains math concepts in a clear, easy-to-understand way, and gives little tricks and tips that I was unaware of that make concepts which can be difficult to understand fun to learn. I especially appreciated the chapter on percentages, which will come in very handy while shopping to figure out sale prices. This book will be great to reinforce my daughter's school lessons.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Many times the reason a teacher asks for a written explanation is to ensure that the student understands the math they are using. It's often easy to put numbers into equations without really understanding what the math process is. For example, if the student can explain that 4 time 3 is acutally a shortcut to adding 4 three times, then it is apparent they understand the process as well as the solution. I don't think this makes it 'boy' or 'girl' math, just another way to try and make sure that the students are commprehending the material they are given.
Trixie25 More than 1 year ago
I am terrible at math and picked it up hoping that it would help me understand it so that I could teach it to my son, whom I homeschool. It is very easy to understand. She gives you an example and then gives you problems to try on your own (the answers are in the back). It's definitely geared toward girls, but I'm hoping to convert the examples from lipsticks to footballs! Thanks Danica!
jpchurch34 More than 1 year ago
I got this for my daughter and another for one of her friends, both of Danica's books. Then, just recently I bought 2 more sets of both books for 2 more of her friends! It is a very small investment to help some young girl get math before it is too late in their educational journey. Buy a set for some young girls you know! Public schools are not cutting it. Take an active role in your child's education.
RyRaeMom More than 1 year ago
My 6th grade daughter has struggled with math concepts for years. I bought her this book as a reference and as a fun way to think about math. She has referred to it on several occasions and enjoys the stories. My only hesitation about buying the book was the "s" word in tht title as I don't find that appropriate for this age but the material made me overlook it! I would recommend as a book to share together and use a reference to make math fun!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Math Doesn't Suck by Danica McKellar is a fun, energetic read highlighting the struggles of middle school math students. Ms. McKellar may be remembered as next door neighbor Winnie Cooper on "The Wonder Years". Unlike Winnie's confident demeanor, in Chapter 1 Ms. McKellar admits to suffering from a panic attack during a 7th grade math test. She writes that at the end of the testing period her paper was totally blank. During the 8th grade she began to feel more comfortable working with numbers and mathematical concepts, and by the time she graduated from high school she was accepted by UCLA as a math major. So competent in her studies that she now has a theorem named after her, she wanted to help other young women shed their fear and anxiety and come to feel accomplished in the math arena. In the course of the book Ms. McKellar offers a number of tips and tricks to make computations and processes easier to follow and remember. She tackles the question of who is stronger in math-males or females-head on. She offers that males feel more confident in math courses, and thus may perform at a higher level on tests, but that young women are logical and focused and possess the skills necessary to overcome their fears and to be strong math students. She also addresses the idea that being smart isn't cool. She points out that strong math skills make it possible for students to calculate their earnings when they have a job, calculate the discount on sale merchandise, figure out how long they will have to work to buy the car of their dreams. Being a strong math student isn't only cool-it's a necessity in life. I believe this is a great book for young women, but young men as well. I enjoyed reliving, relearning and reviewing the math operations I have not used for many years after leaving the classroom. I recommend this book very highly.
Matt2009 More than 1 year ago
I read this book cover to cover. Needed to re-teach myself math. Started with the Kiss My Math edition, but found some skills referred back to this first book. Author uses lots of stories and mnemonics to make math easier to remember. A lot of work went into making this book fun and educational.
robertbdouglas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the perfect book for any young girl you know who struggles with math. With chapters like "You Can Never Have Too Many Shoes" and "Why Calculators Would Make Terrible Boyfriends," how could it be anything but a hit?McKellar covers math in a way that is accessible to kids--especially girls. The kid-friendly explanations, step-by-step examples, and practice problems, it is a valuable resource for teachers as well as students. It is also peppered throughout with profiles of women who have become very successful because of math. This is a must have for every middle school girl.I am looking forward to the release of her second book: Kiss My Math.
Joles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Math Doesn't Suck" proves that Winnie from the Wonder Years, the author of this book, Danica McKellar, isn't just another pretty face. She puts things so plainly that anyone can understand it. Besides the math tricks and tips that are imparted in this book it builds a great deal of confidence in the reader. Sorry boys, it's directed at girls (although, the tricks will help both boys and girls.) I'm in my mid-20s and keep wondering why they didn't teach some of these concepts to me this way, because i would've understood them from the beginning if they had! This is a must for all girls in middle & high school math classes-if you need help or not. Highly recommended!
davidpwhelan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I borrowed this from the public library after seeing that the author had released the third in this series. The books are focused on encouraging girls to enjoy math. I thought it was very funny and her manner is both friendly and educational. Things on the cover that may raise eyebrows - like dealing with her latest crush - become mathematically relevant in the "Greatest Crush Factor" method of finding a greatest common factor. Many of the tips and methods have memorable names that may help both in recall and how to apply them later. I found myself learning - or at least, hopefully, remembering! - some concepts that I'd forgotten. The book offers explanations followed by examples, and then further supplemented with practice questions (answers in the back of the book). My pre-teen - already a math fan - thought it was interesting too, and enjoyed the writing. I'll keep the whole series in mind if she hits any obstacles in the future, and any girl struggling in math might want to give it a try.
bunnyjadwiga on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I picked this up because I heard her on NPR, but the book is amazing. Middle-school math concepts that I had forgotten or couldn't figure out how to explain to our 6th grader are explained clearly and simply and with a sense of humor, plus lot of little tips and tricks to help students along. (I knew about the rules for finding out if a number can be divided by 2, 3, and 5, but not the ones for 6 and 9!) There's a lot of morale-building quotes and stories here too. Our 6th grader won't read it because she insists "It's WRONG. Math DOES TOO suck!" but I'll be getting us a copy so we can use it to help her with her math homework and I can stop trying to figure out how to explain this stuff on my own!
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MrsRyan More than 1 year ago
I love this book for my classroom and can't wait to get her others! The book was easy to understand and gave me great relevant practice problems to give my students. I really want "Kiss My Math" and "Hot X: Algebra Exposed". Can't wait!
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Elva Marlene Perez More than 1 year ago
Absolutely helps you on whatever
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