Math resources – brain-based education

By Michael Labosco
By Michael Labosco


Reviews from School Library Journal
Grade 5 Up-Packed with full-color photographs and diagrams, this fascinating volume offers detailed instructions on the construction of mathematical models of two and three dimensions and related activities. The 37 projects are grouped into six categories: “Beauty with Circles and Flexagons,” “Instant Calculations and Mind Reading,” “Vanishes and Illusions,” “Precision Measuring without Instruments,” “Math in Everyday Life Situations,” and “Solitaire Games.” Additional challenges and all solutions are provided. The required materials can be found around the house or purchased inexpensively. The activities range from the simplicity of the Buffon Toothpick Experiment, for which all that is required is a box of toothpicks, a large sheet of paper, a pencil, and a ruler, to the more complicated Floating Sphere and 3-D Stadium Design. The math concepts used in these mental workouts also cover a wide range of abilities. Students will be drawn to this colorful book because of its attractiveness, its challenges, and its hands-on approach.
Linda Wadleigh, Oconee County Middle School, Watkinsville, GA $81 at or ¥3,500 – this refers to the hardcover version; a paperback version is also available



計算がはやくできる (ドラえもんの学習シリーズ―ドラえもんの算数おもしろ攻略) ISBN:4092531192  – ¥ 760

This book shows you lots of math “cheats” and shortcuts, and easy explanations. It will appeal to, and hold the attention of the manga-reading and anime set.


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Inside the book
Inside the book
インド式 たし算 かけ算 ます目パズルで数遊びドリル

By ニヤンタ・デシュパンデ ISBN9784098377084  – ¥ 972

Number play drill common math multiplication puzzle squares plus India formula (2007) ISBN: 409837708X  2007

To know more about the Indian math drill method, see this page for more on the Vedic math method.
















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The Proofs of Pythagoras, includes teacher’s guide and model. From Learning Resources. details available here $27







For parents:

Train Your Brain: 60 Days to a Better Brain is an EngFullSizeRender (39)lish-language version of a Japanese book written by Ryuta Kawashima. ¥1,685

Ryuta Kawashima is known as “the devil who cracked the dementia code” (The Independent, 27 May 2013). The money from these books is ploughed back into dementia research at a research centre in Japan’s Tohoku University, attached to the Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer. Kawashima’s 40-strong team of young scientists spends their days working on ways to train our working memory and stimulate the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain that deals with problem-solving and personality. Brain exercises have been shown to expand the cortex of healthy young people, he says, “So why not the old?”

Kawashima’s work is featured in a documentary, “In Do You Know What My Name Is?” in which pensioners with severe dementia at a care home in the US state of Cleveland, Ohio, are seen recovering the use of their memories after using a six-month programme of learning therapy he designed. Some are almost literally brought back to life, transformed from depressed, hollow shells slipping inexorably toward death back into sociable, happy people.

“We neuroscientists knew that brain plasticity exists in young subjects. The new point is that we now know it exists even in the brains of dementia sufferers,” Kawashima explains.

He says stimulating the frontal cortex clearly improves memory and brainpower: “We found that the best candidate for training working memory in people with dementia is reading aloud and performing simple arithmetic.”

Kawashima claims his own tests show an improvement in up to six out of 10 dementia sufferers, and he thinks that this can be bettered.

The original book sold over a million copies in Japan. Dr. Kawashima found that by performing simple mathematical calculations and reading books aloud, one could retain mental clarity and stave off the mental effects of aging. The book is based on this research.
The first half of the book contains simple mathematical calculations intermingled with memory tests and counting tests. The book recommends that one should do a set of maths questions everyday and note the time it takes. This is complemented by a memory test, a counting test, and a stroop test (found at the back of the book) which should be undertaken every five days. A set of graphs are provided at the back of the book so that the results of the tests can be logged.
The concepts presented in Train Your Brain would later be used to create the Nintendo DS game Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!

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