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by Eugenia Cheng
An original book using recipes to explain sophisticated math concepts to students and even the math-phobic.
In a chapter on generalization, Cheng begins with a recipe she adapted to produce a cake that was vegan as well as gluten-, sugar-, and dairy-free, thus extending the recipe’s usefulness to serve more people. A chapter on axiomatization describes the difference between basic ingredients and things you can make with basic ingredients. Math uses basic ingredients — axioms — that are assumed to be true and proofs that use hard logic to derive new truths … She also discusses internal vs. external motivation. In cooking, this is the difference between looking at what is on the shelves and figuring out how to use it in a recipe you invent (internal motivation) versus having a recipe in mind and gathering all the ingredients you need to make it (external) … A sharp, witty book to press on students and even the teachers of math teachers.
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