Do girls really not like maths?

It’s taken a long time to cross the Atlantic, but the US bestseller “Maths Doesn’t Suck – how to survive Y6 through Y9 maths without losing your mind or breaking a nail” has recently been published by Penguin in the UK. 

If it works, why not?

First published in 2007, Danica McKellar (yes, that’s right: Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years) is an inspirational writer who can really relate to the barriers life throws up between young girls and maths:

  • Timesaving tips and tricks for homework and tests
  • Real-world examples of great maths in action – from smart shopping with percentages to becoming a better chef with ratios
  • Inspiring stories from Danica’s life as a terrified maths student and a confident actress
  • A Troubleshooting Guide to help you overcome your biggest maths challenges

The content covers basic number work up to simple algebra.

Here’s a typical passage from Chapter 20: Who’s the Cute New Foreign Exchange Student? (Introduction to ‘Solving for x’):

“Let’s say a new student comes into your classroom – a really cute guy from a foreign country. He sits down next to you, and tells you his name is Vakhtangi Levani Gachechiladze. Ohmigod he’s so cute. Wait – what was his name? Panic sets in. ‘How will I ever remember it? How will I introduce him to my friends? What if I forget it at the wrong time?’

Then he says, ‘But you can call me V.’

And you are breathing again. What a relief!

Let’s face it: if you can’t pronounce his real name and you can’t remember his real name – even if he’s super cute – you don’t know his real name.

Sometimes in maths, when we don’t know the real value of something, we give it a ‘nickname’… We could use ‘V’ or, heck – any letter we wanted! Algebra uses nicknaming all the time.”

One US reader review goes like this: “I have always struggled with math, so it wasn’t long before my daughter’s math homework started to outgrow me. It was embarrassing not to be able to help my preteen daughter with her math. Since she and I were both struggling, I decided to give this book a try. It is funny and interesting and puts math into terms that a girl can relate to. However, beyond that it makes math easier to understand.”

And there’s a website for UK readers.

But it rather begs the question “Where’s the equivalent product for maths-phobic boys?”

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