Finally! A free math site with a practical approach and happens to include more girls’ examples. And, even better, a site that covers math topics from before kindergarten through high school.
And why is this website called “She Loves Math“? Because I truly love math!
Lisa Johnson, M.S.
This web site all started when, at the request of several of my math students, I was asked to “write down” several of the hints that I use when explaining math to them. And to be quite honest, the other reason I’ve written this web site is so I don’t forget how to tutor the more difficult topics from year to year.
A little bit of history…..
Early on, I found math to be my favorite subject since I wasn’t crazy about memorizing, and I found that I could memorize a lot less in math. It really was like working on puzzles. What’s more fun than that? I just didn’t see what the big deal was with math.
So, having been a math tutor for over 20 years, I have found if I relate the problems to stuff in my students’ real life (being actively involved instead of passively involved), and direct the students on how much to memorize, the math becomes much easier and much more fun.
One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that the math books in schools tend to be directed towards boys’ things: baseball, rocket ships, and throwing balls. I really don’t think this is necessarily done on purpose, but the textbooks always struck me as being more masculine. Plus, math books are BORING! Thus I’ve also tried to make the pages look “prettier”.
So, to sum up, my philosophy in teaching math is:
- You can’t study for math tests without doing problems! A lot of times, I think I know the subject I’m tutoring (by looking at the book), and then when I get in there and start solving problems, I realize that I didn’t know it as well as I thought I did!
- Learning math should be an active experience and should relate to the world. And always use “simpler numbers” if a problem’s numbers are complicated. (For example, paying $4 for 2 oranges makes it more obvious that you need to divide than paying $5.88 for 3 oranges).
- Learning math requires an understanding of what to “memorize” (for example, the tools), and what to “understand”. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel; it’s already been invented.
- Learning more advanced math is no more than building on what is already known: if you can add \(2+2\), and build with math tools, you can be taught to solve a complicated Calculus problem.
- Math books tend to “brag” and try to explain things with difficult words that sometimes don’t make sense! Math can be explained more easily with every day words.
- Sometimes there’s just one little concept that isn’t known or understood that makes a whole new math concept difficult. We need to find that and learn it!
- Math = Rules + Examples + Practice, Practice, Practice!!!
This SheLovesMath web site will have blog post entries (see Blog) but will mainly consist of web pages covering subjects from first learning numbers through Calculus and Geometry. The pages are meant to be primers, meaning I briefly cover topics starting with basic counting and working our way through high school math.
I try to incorporate many of the hints and helpful tricks that I use in my day-to-day tutoring. If the pages seem “babyish,” that’s because I mean it that way; I’ve been told that I explain things in “simple and plain” terms, which is usually not the case in “normal” math books.
You can go through these pages from the beginning, or use them to catch up, stay on course, or even get ahead of your peers, like during the summers (something I did as a student, since I was quite the nerd). Or, you can also just go to a specific page if you’re having trouble with that particular topic as you’re learning it in school. And remember, not unlike learning ballet, math requires practice to get better at it.
So sit back and enjoy and I will show you how to make your most terrifying math topic easy to understand. I promise you!
HINT: Read the sections before you study those topics in class. It will make class much more enjoyable.
PLEASE NOTE: In no way am I insinuating with this web site that girls are worse in math than boys, or need to see math instructions in “pretty” colors. I just believe that math examples could be more geared towards girls, and math should be taught more simply for both girls and boys!
I am passionate about mathematics, and most of my students are girls. I started to think about writing math books directed towards girls back in the early 1990’s, when I started tutoring.
I have a B.A. degree in Mathematical Sciences from Rice University, and an M.S. degree in Operations Research from Stanford University. I worked over 26 years in technical positions at telecom companies (including several years as a Technical Writer, which I loved) before becoming a math tutor, and have also worked as an associate Math Professor at a local college.
I would love your feedback! You can contact me here: firstname.lastname@example.org.