A book to consider using with more mathematically challenged students. Its presentation, coupled with starting at an appropriate level, make it one of the more accessible books on the market for this audience.
Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press
2012 | 400pp | £29.99
It is always refreshing when books on mathematics begin with a topic that their target audience may have a reasonable chance of understanding. The first page of this volume has a picture of a number line and leads into a discussion of positive and negative numbers. This sets the tone for the rest of the book and indeed the introduction emphasises the need to build confidence in the reader.
The inside front cover notes that this book forms part of the Open University's teaching materials, and it is therefore no surprise that it is produced to a very high standard with effective use of colour and graphics. The latter includes line drawings, photographs and cartoons all of which serve to increase readability.
Each chapter contains worked examples and questions for the reader to attempt as they work through the book. Consequently there are perhaps fewer questions at the end of each chapter than one has come to expect from comparable texts. It is good to see that this book continues the trend towards having detailed answers to questions at the rear. Around 80 pages are given over to 'answers and comments', which I thought was a nice way of describing this section.
The content of any textbook will always be selective, but I do feel that it cries out for a chapter on integration to match the one on differentiation. To be fair, the authors do talk about building a foundation to make it easier to learn further mathematics, if and when required, and I think they have succeeded in doing this. It is also good that they have devoted a whole chapter to the subject of units, which distinguishes this type of book from one written by a mathematician.
This is certainly a book that I would consider using with more mathematically challenged students. Its presentation, coupled with starting at an appropriate level, make it one of the more accessible books on the market for this audience.
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