Math in Society - Edition 2.5
David Lippman, Pierce College
Copyright Year: 2017
Publisher: David Lippman
Conditions of Use
The only topic from our student learning outcomes that is not covered is the concept of a normal distribution. read more
The only topic from our student learning outcomes that is not covered is the concept of a normal distribution.
It's math - it has to be unbiased and error free!
It has a great discussion of statistics and how data is collected and used,
students seem to have no problem understanding the explanations.
good job explaining notation and context
I only use some portions of the text and they seem to work fine as stand alone chapters
there are many independent topics all of which are organized in a clear manner
the "try it now" examples and the additional problems are well coordinated
I saw none
I guess the book could be expanded to include cultural issues but it does not address any of these.
This book would not be appropriate for a new course with this emphasis: "This new mathematics literacy course, called Critical Mathematics, will center the history and sociopolitical issues that impact Black and Brown communities around a general education mathematics curriculum. The mathematical content will mirror that of our current General Education Mathematics course (Math 118) but the applications will make direct connections to the lived experiences of the Olive-Harvey College student body and the issues impacting the community in which the college sits." but it covers the the mathematical content and could be enhanced with outside materials.
This textbook does an excellent job covering the content of this course for the most part. It is lacking in some sections that would be considered review or prerequisite material. However, I found other open resources where these missing pieces... read more
This textbook does an excellent job covering the content of this course for the most part. It is lacking in some sections that would be considered review or prerequisite material. However, I found other open resources where these missing pieces could be easily supplemented.
I did not find any errors in my review. This open source textbook has been used for several years and there has been updates made to it in the last 5 years.
This textbook has very relevant content and uses ideas and examples that will be relevant for years to come.
This textbook uses technical jargon but is also written in such a way that it is easy for students to understand.
The text is very consistent in the way it highlights important vocabulary and formulas.
This text is broken down into sections that would be chapters in other textbooks. The sections are broken down in a useful manner but they are quite large and not broken up within themselves. The instructor would need to pick and choose which parts they want to incorporate into the class and this may cause confusion to students.
This sections in this textbook are over all not related but they are presented in a similar fashion to other books on the same subject matter.
This book is very easily navigated. It can even be distributed in separate PDFs if some sections are not needed in the course.
I did not find any grammatical errors.
The textbook used names from many different cultures and genders. It did use any offensive or insensitive language.
I feel as though this book would be a great option to incorporate into WVU's Math 121 class.
The text gives more options than needed for a liberal arts math course. This gives instructors flexibility over the main topics they would like cover in a semester. read more
The text gives more options than needed for a liberal arts math course. This gives instructors flexibility over the main topics they would like cover in a semester.
The chapters I reviewed were accurate and error-free.
The text should remain relevant over time, but it could use some updated voting examples.
The text is clearly and concisely written.
Use of notation is consistent throughout.
The text is broken up into chapters, but it would be nice if the chapters were divided into sections. Homework exercises are listed at the end of each chapter. I would prefer exercises for smaller sections.
Topics are organized and clearly presented.
The text has a nice interface. In PDF form, the reader can navigate to the different chapters by using the . It would be even better if hyperlinks were included in the table of contents
I did not spot any grammatical errors in the textbook.
The textbook seems inclusive to students of many different backgrounds.
This is a solid book for a liberal arts math course. In addition, the MyOpenMath online homework system can be used in conjunction with this text.
This textbook is great if you are going to teach a course that is not STEM heavy, but for those students going in the Liberal Arts direction. It has been pointed out that the Table of Contents is limited and there is no index. There are plenty of... read more
This textbook is great if you are going to teach a course that is not STEM heavy, but for those students going in the Liberal Arts direction. It has been pointed out that the Table of Contents is limited and there is no index. There are plenty of topics to choose from but is lacking in a logic's chapter. A section on logic can be supplemented from other sources but should be included in the book since this is a topic that bodes well for all areas of life.
I have not observed any inaccuracy in the text. It appears to be unbiased.
I looked at the sections on voting as that is most relevant to this coming year. I found it interesting and thought provoking for students who are just getting into voting themselves or have only bee voting a short time.
I find that students who are not math geeks tend to zone out when they don't understand the language of math. I found this text to be very approachable.
The textbook is consistent in its layout. It is easy to identify examples from the explanations.
I am not crazy about not having true titles. The textbook is divided up by chapters, but the headings are all the same size and isn't easy to distinguish other than the new chapter is after the problem set from the previous chapter.
This is a problem solving textbook and each chapter is a different type of topic. I really don't think the order matters in this case. The topics within the chapters flow nicely.
My only comment is that there really is no way to tell when you get to a new chapter.
I found no grammatical issues.
I didn't get a feel for cultural bias. Mathematics tends to be impartial.
This should be a great book for anyone who would like to go non Stem. They won't really realize just how much they are learning mathematically. It comes across as non scary for people who aren't thrilled with mathematics.
This textbook offers a very nice selection of topics for non-STEM students, including most of the topics we cover in the Concepts and Applications class at Marshall. The inclusion of chapters on graph theory, voting theory, scheduling, fractals,... read more
This textbook offers a very nice selection of topics for non-STEM students, including most of the topics we cover in the Concepts and Applications class at Marshall. The inclusion of chapters on graph theory, voting theory, scheduling, fractals, and cryptography was interesting; this gives a professor level appropriate options for special topics and projects not traditionally offered in a survey-level course.
All of the content that I read was accurate; I did not find any errors within the examples or the material itself. I did not notice any bias within the content, or any gender or racial bias in the examples presented.
The mathematical content was presented in a way that is relevant to current society, referencing social media, mobile devices, and pop- and political-culture. The nature of the material lends to the longevity of the text; any updates should be fairly easy to incorporate.
This text is well written for students who may not have a natural inclination for mathematics. The language is clear and easy to understand, and the author makes good use of examples to support the explanations.
Each chapter was organized in the same manner; it was easy to follow the flow from one topic to the next. The terminology was consistent from one related chapter to another.
The content would be easy to divide into several modules, with related chapters within each module. Each chapter is divided into relevant sections, so it would be easy to assign one section at a time. For the most part, the modules could be presented in any order since the knowledge base doesn't necessarily build on itself from beginning to end.
There is a variety of topics in this textbook, not necessarily building on one another, so the organization is not so important. The topics could be presented in any order.
The clickable links in the table of contents (PDF version) made it easy to navigate the chapters and sections. There were no issues with the display of tables or images.
I did not find any grammatical errors, although I did not read the text from cover to cover.
The content that I read thoroughly did not contain any content or examples that were culturally insensitive, although the nature of mathematics may assist in that area. I would say that a majority of the content and examples are presented with neutral subjects (you, a friend, forest populations, etc.); there was racial/ethnic variety in the names that were used, though.
This textbook is quite suitable for a non-STEM Concepts and Applications course. It includes nearly all of the material that I currently cover for this course. I particularly like the inclusion of a "Which Equation to Use" section in the financial chapter.
My course covers the topics of Sets, Logic, Probability, and Statistics, so I only reviewed chapters related to these topics. Although the range of topics covered in the text is wide, it lacks a chapter on Logic, and it lacks content that covers... read more
My course covers the topics of Sets, Logic, Probability, and Statistics, so I only reviewed chapters related to these topics. Although the range of topics covered in the text is wide, it lacks a chapter on Logic, and it lacks content that covers the Normal Distribution. The coverage in the chapter on Sets is relatively shallow and would require supplemental material. The chapter on Probability has sufficient coverage to meet the needs of the learning objectives in our Contemporary Math course. Rather than having one chapter that covers most concepts of Statistics, the book separates its topics into two chapters. One chapter, called Statistics, only covers data-collection. The chapter entitled Describing Data is self-explanatory. These two chapters provide suitable coverage of those topics. The fact that there is no content on the Normal Distribution is curious, as it is difficult to imagine discussing Statistics without the Normal Distribution as part of the conversation. In addition to the lack of content for the required topics in our course, this text has no index and no glossary.
My review was of the content covered in the chapters on Sets, Probability, Statistics, and Describing Data. I did not notice any biases or mathematical inaccuracies in these chapters.
My review was limited to the chapters on Sets, Probability, Statistics, and Describing Data. These topics are not prone to change, so obsolescence is not a concern. Updates, if necessary, should be easy to implement.
The tone of the writing is easy to understand, but the text often gives definitions that are too simplistic, leaving it up to the instructor to provide clarity on how the mathematical symbols, terminology, and processes should be interpreted.
The text is consistent in its formatting, its terminology, and its tone.
This text's formatting makes it highly modular and easily divisible into smaller sections; however, the chapters and subsections are not numbered in the table of contents or in the body of the text. This makes locating specific chapters and specific content within chapters difficult. The table of contents only lists the chapter names and the first page of each chapter, with no page numbers listed for subsections. Having page numbers in the table of contents for subsections would reduce the amount of scrolling necessary to navigate through the text. It would also be helpful if there was a chapter title page at the beginning of each chapter. When scrolling, this would supply a visual break in the text to indicate where a new chapter begins.
The chapter topics vary widely, and some are only remotely related to each other, so the order of presentation is not an issue. In our course, I teach the topic of Sets first, but the fact that Sets is presented near the end of this book is not off-putting.
The text is available in pdf form, which can be viewed and highlighted digitally, or pages can be printed as needed. The text is also available for purchase as a soft-cover book with black and white text and images; the fact that there is no color makes the chapter headings and section headings even more difficult to identify. The pdf version is in color, which helps to identify chapter and section headings. The colors and borders also help to separate the pedagogical content from examples and practice problems. The pdf version does not have hyperlinks in the table of contents to allow clicking to move directly to the desired chapter, so one must scroll through the text to locate specific content. The images and diagrams are sized and placed correctly for easy reference.
In the chapters I reviewed, I noticed a few grammatical errors and omitted words. There are also some punctuation errors that mainly involve commas that are missing or erroneously placed. Luckily these errors did not affect the understandability of the content.
In the chapters I reviewed, the is not culturally insensitive. There are a few examples, however, where the desire to include people of one background may make the problem understandable to only those people. For example, one problem in the chapter on Sets names several plays and asks what these plays have in common. The problem assumes that the reader is familiar enough with the titles to recognize that they were all written by Shakespeare or that they are a subset of British literature.
The Probability chapter in this text covers a broad enough array of topics and covers them at a depth that is suitable for our course. The chapters on Sets and Statistics are missing major portions of our course's required content, and the topic of Logic is not covered at all. For these reasons, I would not recommend the adoption of this edition of Math in Society for our Contemporary Math course. I would, however, recommend it as a resource to remix with other open resources to satisfy the learning objectives of the course.
As another reviewer pointed out, there is no index and the Table of Contents is minimal. The only way to know for sure if a particular topic is included is to search through all of the chapters the topic might be contained in. The four chapters I... read more
As another reviewer pointed out, there is no index and the Table of Contents is minimal. The only way to know for sure if a particular topic is included is to search through all of the chapters the topic might be contained in.
The four chapters I used (Finance, Statistics, Describing Data, and Growth Models) contained the topics I would expect, based on my university's course description and the former textbook I am familiar with. One topic missing is the normal distribution.
I was ready to point out the absence of a taxes section within the Finance chapter of the text, but just came across the 'Taxes Extension' of the Problem Solving chapter. I don't know if this is a new addition or I have simply missed it because I didn't utilize that chapter. The extension itself is minimal and would require much supplementation.
I did not notice any errors in the four chapters I used: Finance, Statistics, Describing Data, and Growth Models.
The contexts and examples are relevant but not likely to outdate quickly. They are standard examples of population growth, gas prices, etc. Real-life examples are correctly cited and dated, and should be easily updated. (Finance, Statistics, Describing Data, and Growth Models chapters)
The text is written in accessible prose and is fairly easy to follow. Some of the terms and equations are not as well-defined.
The author uses the same notation and development of exponential formulas between the Growth Models and Finance chapters, which was helpful for students. I did not notice inconsistencies in the chapters I used (Finance, Statistics, Describing Data, and Growth Models).
The book is nicely designed to be used in a pick-and-choose manner. Chapters are downloadable individually or as a full book.
The flow of the chapters is logical and clear. The one downfall I found was that there is no running header on the pages, so unless you are looking at an odd-numbered page, it's difficult to tell what chapter you are in. There are also no section numbers within the chapters (which are not numbered), so it is a bit clunky referring to specific sections of the book by the 'topic.'
I encountered no problems in either the pdf or .doc formats of text. (Finance, Statistics, Describing Data, and Growth Models)
I found no grammatical or typographical errors in the chapters I used (Finance, Statistics, Describing Data, and Growth Models).
There are very few actual names used in the examples and practice exercises. Most refer to the reader: 'you are planning for your retirement...' With the names and genders used, there is an attempt at variety, e.g., Marco and Pam, or a city planner who is female, but it almost reads to me that the author is attempting to be non-gendered and culture-free (is that even a thing?) on purpose.
Overall, this text book is a great option for use in a math for liberal arts class. As with any textbook, the instructor will need to supplement certain sections and clarify particular terms and concepts to best fit their situation. But I no longer feel guilty using only 3-4 chapters of the $150, 10-chapter books that I know my students will never open again once the class is finished.
The book covers almost every topic included in our own liberal arts mathematics class, plus several others. The only chapter we cover that isn't included deals with logic and would be easy to add to the book. read more
The book covers almost every topic included in our own liberal arts mathematics class, plus several others. The only chapter we cover that isn't included deals with logic and would be easy to add to the book.
All of the examples and exercises I worked through were correct. The examples gave a short, but clear, explanation of why a step was being taken.
Math textbooks at this level don't need to worry too much about things changing to make them obsolete. However, the examples and exercises did reflect contemporary ideas and included several elements relevant to our society today.
I love the fact that the explanations come with examples rather than long paragraphs with no math. I prefer more examples of more explanations any day!
The text was fairly easy to see what was an example and when topics changed.
It might be helpful to make the beginning of a new topic stand out a bit more, but that wouldn't be such a problem during the semester. Bookmarking the first page of topics would also be helpful to make it easier to get from one place in the text to the other.
Since this course doesn't build on earlier topics, the order really doesn't matter.
Again, lack of bookmarks to get to chapters easily would be extremely helpful.
I didn't find any grammatical errors.
I didn't notice any examples or exercises that could be viewed as offensive by anyone. There may have been something I missed since I didn't look at some of the chapters we don't teach, but there were none in the chapters I viewed.
I love the concise format of the book and how many examples it uses to explain the concepts. It's easy to tell when one example ends and another begins, although a system of links from the table of contents would be greatly appreciated. Our math class for liberal arts could transition to this book fairly easily and I'm sure other universities could do the same.
I only used material from the chapters Probability, Describing Data, Finance, and Growth Models. The chapters I used are thorough with its content. It covers all topics that could be covered in a Math for Liberal Arts or similar course. The only... read more
I only used material from the chapters Probability, Describing Data, Finance, and Growth Models. The chapters I used are thorough with its content. It covers all topics that could be covered in a Math for Liberal Arts or similar course. The only topic missing required for my curriculum is taxes. It has a large variety of worked out examples and plenty of homework problems with solutions. It was broken into readable pieces with headers for each concept.
It does not include an index or a glossary. Adding an index would be a huge improvement. I also noticed it glossed over a few terms. It would mention them in context, but these terms were never defined. I did not notice a lot of this, though.
I only used material from the chapters Probability, Describing Data, Finance, and Growth Models. I did not notice any mathematical errors.
I only used material from the chapters Probability, Describing Data, Finance, and Growth Models. The content it up-to-date. I don't think much (or any) the actual mathematical concepts will change. If the author wanted to change some examples, it seems like it would be a quick and easy fix. This book is timeless.
I only used material from the chapters Probability, Describing Data, Finance, and Growth Models. There were a few instances where it would mention terms that I felt needed defining. This was far and few between though. Generally, the terms were defined in a way that was obvious.
I only used material from the chapters Probability, Describing Data, Finance, and Growth Models. It was consistent with its terminology and formatting.
I only used material from the chapters Probability, Describing Data, Finance, and Growth Models. The textbook was easy to follow with headers for each concept. Each worked out example followed the definition and equation of each concept.
I only used material from the chapters Probability, Describing Data, Finance, and Growth Models. Each chapter started off with definitions and easier topics and flowed easily into the more complex topics. It had a logical flow that was easy to follow.
I only used material from the chapters Probability, Describing Data, Finance, and Growth Models. I did not find any issues with the interface.
I only used material from the chapters Probability, Describing Data, Finance, and Growth Models. I did not notice any grammatical errors. It was concise and easy to read.
I only used material from the chapters Probability, Describing Data, Finance, and Growth Models. I did not notice any cultural insensitivities. I don't find that this category applies well for a math textbook.
I found this to be a thorough and concise book for a Math for Liberal Arts course or a similar course.
Courses in mathematics for liberal arts majors vary widely between institutions. Topics like graph theory, geometry, and voting systems are well-represented topics aimed at liberal arts majors, but contemporary approaches tend to use textbooks... read more
Courses in mathematics for liberal arts majors vary widely between institutions. Topics like graph theory, geometry, and voting systems are well-represented topics aimed at liberal arts majors, but contemporary approaches tend to use textbooks with special emphasis on financial math and/or statistics. Some textbooks and programs offer liberal arts mathematics courses that are essentially pre-algebra courses that emphasizes graphs and symbolic manipulation of equations.
The Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver) course MTH 1080, Mathematics for Liberal Arts, is not designed as a pre-algebra course; rather, important mathematical concepts critical in every day transactions are emphasized in the core topics of exponential growth, financial mathematics, descriptive statistics, counting techniques and probability. Instructors have latitude to cover 1-2 additional topics in the course, chosen from topics including voting systems, geometry, graph theory, number systems, fractals and/or mathematics in the arts, but are required to commit most of the course to the core topics.
I am rating “comprehensiveness” of this textbook in the context of the core topics in the MSU Denver Regular Course Syllabus for MTH 1080. The textbook provides good coverage of all of our core topic but is not entirely comprehensive with regards to certain subtopics we cover. The MSU Denver core subtopic “Income Taxes” is not sufficiently covered and the MSU Denver core subtopic “The Normal Distribution” is not covered at all in Math in Society (Edition 2.4), so supplementary material or alternative OER resources need to be identified by instructors in order to cover these specific core subtopics.
The chapters “Growth Models”, “Finance”, “Describing Data,” and “Probability” are sufficient for covering all other core subtopics in MTH 1080. The textbook exposition of these subjects is thoughtfully written at the right level for our students and includes good examples. The notation used is conventional and reasonably accessible to a typical student. The chapter “Describing Data” could use more examples of numerical data sets and histograms.
The problem sets are not particularly extensive but suffice. Instructors will probably want to use more problems than are provided by the textbook in order to give students enough homework to be well practiced. Solutions provided for most of the odd problems are terse, only giving brief derivations of the final answers.
The book provides very little in terms of technology support for calculators or mathematical/statistical software. I have a hands-on approach to calculator proficiency and do not use any sophisticated software in this course (besides requiring statistical calculators), so the lack of technological coverage does not affect my instruction of the course. Instructors hoping for a textbook with a technology instruction component will not find it here.
I detected no inaccuracies, but this is a math book with a lot of exercises and problems. I certainly did not check if the solutions to every exercise and problem were accurate. The problems I have worked out in the core topics chapters indicated above all had correct solution. The material covered is classical mathematics that has been well-known for centuries if not millennia and the treatment here is faithful to well-established traditional approaches. Mathematical notation used in the text is conventional and accurate.
The textbook is not particularly thoughtful in terms of relevance to contemporary societal issues; that said, the fault of many liberal arts mathematics books is to attempt to be overly relevant to current issues. This often results in textbooks aging fast and requiring frequent new editions, feeding into common marketing strategies for proprietary textbooks.
The examples used in the textbook are written in way that they are not irrelevant (neutrally relevant?) and will not seem particularly dated. The relevance of examples is appropriate for a textbook that may not be designed to require substantial revisions between editions in order to stay up to date.
The text is written using lucid and accessible prose, but the development of the material is fairly compact. Some mathematical notations are introduced in quick succession without motivation, which will cause confusion for many students. Instructors using this text will need to more clearly expound upon the correct interpretation of certain notations and equations.
A major obstacle for many liberal arts mathematics students is the dense notation used to communicate mathematics. This textbook does not make a concerted effort to motivate and contextualize the mathematical notation. Equations are not dissected for complete clarity. There are liberal arts mathematics textbooks available that better clarify the mathematical notations and manipulations used in this class.
The text is fairly self-consistent. There are some mathematical consistencies in notation; for example, the “Growth Models” and “Finance” chapters both use essentially the same exponential growth models, but the notation is adapted to the particular applications emphasized in each chapter. These types of inconsistencies are hard to avoid in a liberal arts mathematics textbook that covers a broad range of applications, but textbooks have been published that provide a more consistent, wholistic development of similar material than this textbook does.
Modularity is a strength of this textbook. As has already been expanded upon in the “Comprehensiveness” section of this review, there is a lot of variability between different institutions with regards to topics covered in a liberal arts mathematics class. This textbook offers a broad range of topics often covered in liberal arts mathematics courses and should adapt to a wide range of institutional syllabi.
The modular organization also fits with the MSU Denver approach to this course, which emphasizes four of the chapters in our core topics but allows individual instructors to provide some coverage of other topics of interest.
The “Problem Solving” chapter, if covered, is probably the most appropriate first chapter to cover at the start of a course, but other chapters could reasonably be covered in any order. None of the chapters are particularly inflated, and a class using this text can be organized so that each topic requires the same amount of class/student time commitment. The chapters are not even numbered, which I view as a testament to the books pointed effort at modularity.
Within each chapter, the topics are presented in a clear, logical fashion. Since the book is very modular, it does not utilize a wholistic structure that might better leverage related material.
The textbook is a conventional .pdf with “highlightable” text and images. The interface consists of text, tables and graphics, and I have not experienced any interface issues while reviewing the textbook. The .pdf file seems to be small enough that scrolling is fast and zooming transitions are smooth in the .pdf viewer I use (Adobe Acrobat).
The textbook seems to be well vetted, and I did not detect any grammatical or notational errors. The author clearly indicates what updates have been enacted in recent editions.
The chapters “Problem Solving”, “Voting Theory”, “Weighted Voting”, “Apportionment” and “Fair Division” do provide some culturally relevant examples, although not in a particularly broad sense. These are also not core topics sections for MTH 1080. Examples throughout the book have a Pacific Northwest theme, which could be alienating to students from regions with different social issues and analytic needs than the Pacific Northwest. The book does not make a strong effort for cultural relevancy and many of the classical topics covered suffer from a traditional approach constrained to a euro-centric, male dominant development of mathematics; historically accurate but without any pointed efforts to introduce more globally diverse perspectives on the development of mathematics.
No additional comments
My overall assessment is those considering moving to an OER will find this a usable text which can easily be supplemented by instructors who choose to do so. Though it would not be effective for studying any single topic in depth, the text is... read more
My overall assessment is those considering moving to an OER will find this a usable text which can easily be supplemented by instructors who choose to do so. Though it would not be effective for studying any single topic in depth, the text is appropriate for use in a course which survey’s a wide variety of applications of mathematics. Those new to teaching a survey course such as this may find the text lacks some depth.
Though my review focused primarily on three chapters, I found no errors and no evidence of bias.
Some examples of growth included fuel consumption; examples networks included internet connections. Both of these are relevant and current.
The book is succinctly written without much text beyond that which is necessary to set up and explain examples, which are the primary vehicles for Math in Society’s instruction. Fortunately, the examples included generally are thorough, conveying the important ideas and sequenced in a logical manner. Vocabulary is kept to a minimum, including only those terms which are necessary for the concepts being discussed.
I found no inconsistencies in notation or terminology.
The text can easily be subdivided into usable sections, however, it lacks a numbering system. Chapters and subsections are titled but not numbered, making it a bit inconvenient to reference the different locations in the text.
Chapters are organized in a logical manner, as are concepts within each chapter.
The book is easy to navigate and free of image distortions.
No grammatical errors observed.
Few ethnically diverse names or references.
I focused my review on chapters “Growth Models”, “Finance” and “Graph Theory”
GROWTH MODELS: The chapter on growth models is nicely done. I like the emphasis on vocabulary that is likely to be more meaningful to a general audience (e.g. although the author mentions arithmetic and geometric sequences, the text emphasizes linear and exponential to describe their respective types of growth). Using sequence notation, recursive and explicit representations of growth are developed in a variety of contexts (not just finance) so students get a sense that saving and borrowing money are not the only phenomena governed by mathematics. There is very little (if any) mention of decreasing functions so instructors will have to supplement the materials should they choose to include this. However, the author does introduce using logarithms to solve for time and the notion of carrying capacity to motivate logistic growth (which, wisely, is defined only recursively). Additionally, the text includes timely suggestions for rounding and explanations for how to use a calculator to perform exponential computations, which has been helpful for my students.
FINANCE: The chapter on finance is typical of such chapters in other texts. Some of the strengths include an accessible derivation of the explicit savings annuity formula from the recursive formula and then (wisely) referencing this when introducing the payout annuity formula rather than including another derivation. Similarly, formulas for loan payments and balances are compared to those for annuities without burdening the reader with excessive details. Numerous examples of how to use the different formulas are provided along with discussion on how to discern which one to use. Examples using T-notes serve as a nice transition between simple interest and the compound interest formula. One weakness of the chapter is the omission of any reference to online loan or savings calculators (which is far more likely to be useful for this audience than the underlying formulas), however, this is easily supplemented.
GRAPH THEORY: This chapter also provides a typical treatment of the concepts of graph theory one would expect in a course surveying contemporary uses of mathematics. Examples conveying how to draw graphs for modeling geographical scenarios are especially well done. Considerable time (perhaps too much time?) is spent on Dijkstra’s Algorithm, but an appropriate sampling of the more standard algorithms for minimizing circuits, paths and spanning trees are included. Terminology and concepts are kept to an appropriate minimum for those majoring in non-STEM fields.
The table of contents is similar to commercial textbooks for the same topic. All books of more than a few tens of pages need an index. Does the normal distribution appear in this book? You have to read through a lot of chapters to answer this... read more
The table of contents is similar to commercial textbooks for the same topic.
All books of more than a few tens of pages need an index. Does the normal distribution appear in this book? You have to read through a lot of chapters to answer this trivial question. I didn't see this topic on first reading and I'm loathe to carefully go thorough 100 pages of probability and statistics to look for it. Assuming it isn't there, I would say that is a noteworthy omission. While I don't think the theoretical details of the normal distribution are important, I think the basic idea that percentiles can be determined from the mean and standard deviation for data that "fits a bell-shaped curve" is important.
I found no errors.
Mathematics is largely timeless, although it can be good to insert the most recent examples for current news topics such as voting theory. This text has no problems in this area.
In addition to lucid, accessible prose and context for technical terminology, which are fine here, clarity is also a function of presentation. The text material in this book is presented in small pieces with "Try It Now" exercises interspersed with the text.
The chapters are largely independent, but the pedagogical elements are consistent.
As noted above, the text is presented in bite-size chunks. That is the good part. The lack of any numbering of topics and simple navigational cues are significant weaknesses. I cannot tell my students that we are going to skip Section 3.2.4, but instead have to identify the topic by name. Even the chapters are not numbered. The font size for the chapter names does not appear to be any larger than the font size used to denote the exercise sets or the subsections. There is also no running head, so when you open the book to page 39, it is very difficult to tell which chapter you are in unless you are very familiar with the material. At least the pages are numbered.
The organization of material within chapters is outstanding, with the chapter on voting theory as a good example. Accounts of voting theory typically present all the methods first and then the fairness criteria. For students, it seems silly to look for another method before they've identified a problem with the first one. This book organizes the material the way I do in my class. Present a method. Discuss its flaws. Repeat until one begins to get the idea that all methods have flaws. Another good example is the probability chapter. Most books begin with an overwhelming amount of material based on combinatorics. This book present the more fundamental topics, such as sequences of events and conditional probability, before getting into the finer details. In my class I will skip the messy combinatorics. My students don't care about the probability of drawing a full house in poker.
No problems. The graphics for displaying data are clear and easy to understand.
I found no errors.
The text covers an extensive wide range of topics: taxes, voting, division of assests, graph theory, scheduling, finance, growth models, statistics, fractals and cryptography. Each topic is clearly developed for the students to make connections... read more
The text covers an extensive wide range of topics: taxes, voting, division of assests, graph theory, scheduling, finance, growth models, statistics, fractals and cryptography. Each topic is clearly developed for the students to make connections and understand with definitions and examples. Students will have better idea about the use of mathematics in their real life. Problems and examples are clearly indexed and added glossaries.
To the best of my knowledge, I have not found an error. I am planning to use this text this summer for a lower division liberal art math course, and if, I find an error I will notify the author.
I think it will take at least a decade to get some the topics to be old enough. These topics are day-to-day topics and will continue to stay in our lives for a long period of time. The 2nd edition added more current and ongoing issues, problems and examples. These are practically easy to comprehend by the students of current and next generations.
I can honestly say that this book is written with simplicity in mind for the students to grasp the use of mathematics in their lives. It provided just enough definitions that needed and are also boxed and highlighted. I liked the feature that says, ‘Try it now’.
Yes, throughout the text, the author is very consistent with the topics and followed a well-defined structure as it moved from chapter to chapter. Colored pictures helps to visualize the concepts.
As it is said, earlier, the text covers a wide range of topics, however, one can easily choose the topics that they want to pursue. The topics are well described and are self-contained within itself.
Each idea/topic in the text is well crafted and it followed a definite structure so the students can have a deeper understanding. The flow of reading is not disrupting and one doesn’t have to go back and forth to make the connections.
Pictures and figures are clear and concise. They are at the right places by the problems or the concepts. I do not find any issues with the interface.
I didn’t find a grammatical error when I read through the text. As said, earlier, I am planning to use it this summer and if I find an error that skipped my eye-sight I will notify the author.
I feel this text used examples and problems from different cultural background as much as possible. It is not possible for anyone to cover all the different cultures, races and backgrounds that exist in this world, for a text like this. If one tries to do that then it will a book of million pages. The important thing is that the text do not have any offensive language or an unintentionally provoked language that can annoy a reader.
Overall, I am pleased with the effort that the author has made to prepare this text and I hope it is widely used.
The text covers a variety of typical topics that appear in similar textbooks, along with a few less common topics. However, a notable absence is a chapter on logic, arguments, and truth tables. read more
The text covers a variety of typical topics that appear in similar textbooks, along with a few less common topics. However, a notable absence is a chapter on logic, arguments, and truth tables.
No inaccurate information was found.
Many applications seemed current and interesting. Dated data seemed to be from 2008/2009. However, most topics are general enough to still be relevant over time.
Overall, the text is written clearly and concisely. Explanations are brief but clear.
The layout of each section is consistent with subheadings, definitions, terminology, and examples.
While the organization and flow of the text is strong, it can easily be rearranged and edited into subsets for a unique text.
This is a strong characteristic of the book. One can easily see how each topic flows into the next, particularly the voting chapters and statistics/probability chapters.
At times, my computer was delayed in scrolling and seemed to "time out" of the book, but overall the interface was user-friendly. I liked being able to click on any chapter and immediately see its contents.
No grammatical errors were found.
The text is culturally relevant and not insensitive or offensive in any way.
I particularly liked the instruction on using the calculator in the finance sections. I liked how not only was it explained, but also how it showed pictures of the actual calculator buttons that should be pressed in order to evaluate a complex expression.
The book is comprehensive in the development of the topics it covers. The book does a good job of bring "Math" into "real life" situations that students can relate to. The independent nature of the topics makes it very easy to use and integrate... read more
The book is comprehensive in the development of the topics it covers. The book does a good job of bring "Math" into "real life" situations that students can relate to. The independent nature of the topics makes it very easy to use and integrate into an existing course. The development of the topics allows an instructor to use the complete chapter or only partial use depending on the course needs and student level.
I didn't observe any accuracy issues in the book. The content seems to appropriately bring mathematical topics into places students can identify with in life.
The author chose topics for each section that will not become irrelevant in the short term. The examples included in the chapters are relevant to today's society. I know my students could identify with the content presented and topics like voting and how it works behind the scenes mathematically is novel information to them.
The author is very clear in the content explanations and the examples are easy to follow. Terminology is well explained to build the necessary vocabulary for the content and topics. I liked the way the chapter on Growth Models explained the concept of Linear Growth and then tied the idea to slope and intercept, connecting the concepts in a way students might not on their own. I thought the examples used were very student friendly and easy to relate to. I think my students would find his explanations regarding evaluating roots on the calculator helpful as well. I also appreciate the organization of the book and having, for example, Statistics and Describing Data as separate chapters.
The author of the book is very consistent in the presentation of the material. The book is well designed and easy to use.
A major strength of this book is it's modularity. It can easily be used in part or as a whole. It will suit my needs because of this feature. The author clearly had modularity in mind in the design of this book.
Within the chapters of the book, the organization and flow is very well planned out. The examples are well thought out and explained then followed up with practice options. The overall design of the book allows for selection of chapters relevant the needs of the course being taught. The selection and use of a chapter does not require use of the previous chapter.
The book is well designed and the interface is not an issue.
The author communicates the content of the book effectively and the book is very "readable" and friendly to students.
The chapter covering Historical Counting Systems provides students with a perspective of the development of mathematical concepts and societal needs for mathematics. It develops a cross cultural interaction surround the need to count and trade. I found the chapter interesting and the information well presented. The overall content of the book presents examples that are broad based like pollution and gas consumption, things that are not culturally specific. The chapter on Finance is based on US economics, but that is what students in my courses need to know about.
The author has done a great job of creating a very user friendly, easily adaptable book. The modularity of the design allows for easy adaptation and use into existing courses to help students relate to and understand how mathematics are use on a daily basis. I think the chapter on Finance is an essential component for students to understand, especially in today's world of rise college costs.
The book is fairly comprehensive in its coverage of the usual topics in a liberal arts math text except for the lack of a section on geometry/trigonometry. One thing I particularly noted was the lack of use of technology or even reference to the... read more
The book is fairly comprehensive in its coverage of the usual topics in a liberal arts math text except for the lack of a section on geometry/trigonometry. One thing I particularly noted was the lack of use of technology or even reference to the use of it.
I didn't observe any issues with accuracy.
Other than needing inclusion of technology, the content is appropriate.
The text was straight forward and appropriate for the audience.
I focused on the chapters we will be using and saw no issues.
The book will be easy to break into smaller units to cover just the topics we will be presenting.
Typically with contemporary math, only a few topics are covered so the organization isn't of particular importance. It does start with an appropriate first chapter.
No problems observed.
I didn't notice any grammatical errors.
I didn't notice any issues in this area.
The text covers nearly all topics commonly fund in a liberal arts math topics course, with the notable exception being logic. It includes quite a bit on voting and apportionment, and also covers fractals and cryptography. There does not appear to... read more
The text covers nearly all topics commonly fund in a liberal arts math topics course, with the notable exception being logic. It includes quite a bit on voting and apportionment, and also covers fractals and cryptography. There does not appear to be an index or glossary.
The content is fine; the text dives deeply into topics such as dictators & dummies in voting, and bias & placebos in sampling.
The book should be easy to update; there is a somewhat old reference to Jesse Ventura but nothing else that will age quickly. It would be difficult to revise certain chapters (such as graph theory) because of the labor involved in drawing new diagrams. However, I seen no need to revise those examples, although they are mostly set in Washington and Oregon, giving the book a definite Pacific Northwest flavor.
The author does a great job of explaining nearly every new term or concept, except "Pareto optimal" and "mutually exclusive", but those two examples highlight how rarely this happens. (I hate the phrase "the exception that proves the rule", but I guess that's the situation here.)
The text is consistent from chapter to chapter and notes when a topic, such as common logarithms, has been explained in a previous chapter.
Aside from the logarithms mentioned above, the text can easily be used a la carte in chapters or sub-chapters.
The topics are organized well: explanation followed by example followed by "try it now" problems, and the topics are ordered in a sensible manner.
I had no issues with the interface.
The text has occasional typos and some grammatical errors that 99% of people won't notice: using "if" instead of "whether", putting the modifier "only" in the wrong spot. There are some minor formatting and style issues (serial comma inconsistency, hyphen/dash/negative sign stuff).
There is an entire chapter on number systems used by various cultures, but I don't recall a lot of multicultural inclusion. It is not offensive in any way, but there isn't much diversity, either.
This book would form a great basis for a math topics course; I hope to work on writing a logic chapter to go with it!
Table of Contents
- Problem Solving
- Voting Theory
- Weighted Voting
- Fair Division
- Graph Theory
- Growth Models
- Describing Data
- Historical Counting Systems
About the Book
Math in Society is a free, open textbook. This book is a survey of contemporary mathematical topics, most non-algebraic, appropriate for a college-level topics course for liberal arts majors. The text is designed so that most chapters are independent, allowing the instructor to choose a selection of topics to be covered. Emphasis is placed on the applicability of the mathematics. Core material for each topic is covered in the main text, with additional depth available through exploration exercises appropriate for in-class, group, or individual investigation. This book is appropriate for Math 107 (Washington State Community Colleges common course number).
About the Contributors
David Lippman received his master’s degree in mathematics from Western Washington University and has been teaching at Pierce College since Fall 2000.
David has been a long time advocate of open learning, open materials, and basically any idea that will reduce the cost of education for students. It started by supporting the college’s calculator rental program, and running a book loan scholarship program. Eventually the frustration with the escalating costs of commercial text books and the online homework systems that charged for access led to action.
First, David developed IMathAS, open source online math homework software that runs WAMAP.org and MyOpenMath.com. Through this platform, he became an integral part of a vibrant sharing and learning community of teachers from around Washington State that support and contribute to WAMAP. These pioneering efforts, supported by dozens of other dedicated faculty and financial support from the Transition Math Project, have led to a system used by thousands of students every quarter, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars over comparable commercial offerings.