Teaching students virtually can’t be easy; nor might it be easy for some students for many different reasons – not wanting to look at screens for too long, or not having access to screens. For these reasons, I wanted to share with you some of my favourite books that include maths ideas and puzzles. As well as purchasing these yourself, you could also introduce the books to students who may wish to buy them.
- This is Not a Maths Book and This is Not Another Maths Book by Anna Weltman and Charlotte Milner – both of these books show the links between maths and art and have small projects to work through, with space in the books for doing so. They explore lots of simple ideas as well as some more complex ones, and would make a lovely suggestion for creative mathematicians out there. I think both books are suitable for all ages – I have done some of the activities with my primary-aged grandchildren.
- Geometry Snacks and More Geometry Snacks by Ed Southall and Vincent Pantaloni – these books showcase nice collections of geometry problems, often with several ways to solve them and solutions provided. They would be good for GCSE and A level students to get them used to thinking more geometrically. You can also find some of Ed’s puzzles on his Instagram account (@solvemymaths).
- The Original Area Mazes by Naoki Inaba – this is a book of very simple and addictive Japanese area maze puzzles. You only need to know how to find the area of a rectangle! The puzzles were originally written as tasks for Naoki’s students but, because the students knew nothing about fractions or decimals, the solutions have to be found using whole numbers only. Although simple, they make you look at the problems differently and more geometrically as you cannot use fractions or decimals. This book is suitable for Year 7 upwards.
All of these books could be recommended to students or parents as additional challenges and not just in the current situation.
By Yvonne Scott