Title: Mathematics Inside Out 2
Publishers: Learnrite International Publishers Limited
Reviewer: Wilfred Okiche
For a long, long time, educators, researchers and guardians have sought to demystify the subject of Mathematics and make the learning process as seamless as possible. Any such intervention hopeful of making any difference would have to start from the formative years, when the child is first exposed to Mathematics, that most important of subjects.
The Inside Out series of books for primary school pupils written by Judeson A. Ogberaha, a seasoned educator boasting years of rich on the ground experience, and published by Learnrite Publishers, are an intervention that could make a difference. At least as far as Nigerian groomed pupils are concerned. The Inside Out Mathematics series have the advantage of bypassing the unnecessary jargons that make maths so tedious, thereby making the learning experience as stress free as possible for pupils, teachers and parents.
Where Book 1 serves as the introduction to the series, the second book builds further on this foundation, touching similar territory but with a bit more complexity. With its attractive cover and clear colour separation, kid scholars are instantly drawn to the exciting world within the pages. The author has obviously striven to produce a standard text based on the federal government’s Universal Basic Education (UBE) scheme for instructing, measuring and evaluating pupils’ response to the subject.
For Book 2, the table of contents is neatly aligned, with the subjects beginning from the least demanding to the most demanding. Taking some clue from the first issue, Book 2 comes in at a tidy 19 chapters and 199 pages, combining the textbook and workbook formats into one compact whole.
The building blocks of Mathematics are the numbers, so it is no surprise that the very first chapters of Book 2 pick up from where the previous title left off. The user is painstakingly guided – in brightly coloured tables and charts no less – on how to count slowly upwards from 100 to 200, and back downwards. The succeeding chapters deal with counting and identifying more complex numbers (up till at least 600), counting in twos and writing numbers in words and figures. At the end of these counting exercises, there are interactive exercises that involve full participation of the teacher and their classroom, as well as revision exercises to aid recall and confirm understanding. For example, chapter 7, which deals with multiplication, rounds up with exercises that encourage pupils to consider options like using successive addition of numbers to arrive at correct answers. There are also exercises that make use of relatable life experiences, using words and pictorials.
The lessons then progress to writing numbers in digits and in words, differentiating between both, and discovering the place value of whole numbers. More complex fare is introduced with topics like fractions and money, and before long, pupils are excitedly familiarising themselves on how to add, subtract, multiply and divide tens of whole numbers.
The final chapters of Book 2 deal on such concepts as more detailed length measurement, weight, telling the time and capacity. Two full chapters on practical geometry build on the introductions already detailed in the first book.
There are numerous texts presently fighting for market space but from the experience of this writer, who spent years both as a reluctant, then eager student of Mathematics, the Inside Out series easily stand out with their simple, teach and test design approach, logical presentation of topics and up-to-the-minute advances in contemporary Mathematics trends. Governments interested in improving the study of Mathematics would do well to adopt the series as required reading in schools.
The cover page as previously noted, is quite busy thus, the sheer volume of text on the cover pages alone may discourage attention deficit kids. The images could be brought into sharper focus and the overall finish could be more professional. But these are all issues that can be addressed smoothly with a successful reprint edition.
Book 2 comes as a timely companion to the maiden issue and eases the pupils and their teachers gradually but deeper into the potentially complex world of Mathematics. Fortunate are the kids who have the opportunity of taking this stepwise approach to learning Mathematics.