Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Let's Hear it for the Girls

Last week I read an interesting post over at the math 4 love blog. The posting, When Girls Leave Math and What to Do About got me to thinking about books we can use that present girls as strong characters AND skilled in mathematics.

Danica McKellar, perhaps better known as Winnie Cooper from the television series "The Wonder Years" does a wonderful job of promoting girl math-power in Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking A Nail and Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who's Boss. Her third title in this series is Hot X: Algebra Exposed! and is scheduled for release June 28, 2011. [Note: Hot X is available for pre-order from, click the book link here to learn more or reserve your copy.]

McKellar's books are breaking down stereotypes and demonstrating that girls can and do make great mathematicians. Her sassy and witty style not only teaches math concepts it also encourages young girls to tap into their own undiscovered math potential.

I mentioned novels yesterday that are worth noting again, Do the Math: Secrets, Lies, and Algebra and Do the Math #2: The Writing on the Wall by Wendy Lichtman who has created a young teenage heroine who uses math to solve life problem and mysteries.

Teaching Tip

From time-to-time we should all do some personal reflection and examine our teaching practices. Are we guilty of reinforcing the negative gender stereotypes? As role-models do we send subtle messages that it is okay for girls not to understand math? Parents, when your child asks for math homework help how do you respond? Rather than comforting a daughter that struggles with math with comments such as "I wasn't good in math either" parents can begin to send positive messages with responses such as, "I don't know, let's find out together." After all, parents are the most important role-models of all.


  1. We need improved math curriculum for each grade. We are sick of easy to do math curriculums. These are just waste of money; these curriculums don’t help our children to compete with the international students.
    Whether boy or girl, our students are extremely good, smart, intelligent and competent. If they get proper guidance then they can rock the world. They can do better; accelerate innovation by having more challenging Math curriculum to match the exceptional level of intelligence; we need a math program that will increase the expectation of what our young generation can achieve. Recently I have found tutorteddy math curriculum. I have bought it for my daughter; she is in 8th grade. The curriculum is extremely good, cheap and reusable.

  2. Thank you for a great comment Nichole, I could not agree more. I believe that if the adults (parents, teachers, administrators, politicians etc) all hold high expectations for students, then ALL students--no matter what gender or ethnicity--can excel in mathematics as well as other subject areas. We hold children back because we do not set the bar high enough.