Math Mondays: The Marvelous Murderous Maths

So, unbelievably, there are some students who do not prefer math.  It's crazy, I know.  But I have met many of them.  In fact, there are many who would prefer to be reading.  For those students, any math beyond math in the real-world seems like a waste of time. These are the students who are going to be writers, lawyers, or artists.  These students won't need trigonometry or Algebra, or so they think.  And as much as I love math, I also love books.  So for those students who would rather read, I have found a math book series that engages them in math concepts AND afterwards, they might even try some of the challenges in the books out.  

Those who join us for Social Sundays already know about my love of the Horrible Histories Series. I actually found the Horrible Histories after I discovered the Murderous Maths Series in a used bookstore. 

Both sets of books are from the same publisher. The UK based publishers also have a Horrible Geography Series and Horrible Science Series. Let me be completely honest ... I love the Murderous Math Series. These laugh out loud stories cover a wide range of topics in math such as algebra, number patterns, geometry, trigonometry and probability. The authors know their math and do a solid job of connecting ideas such as showing through story the intersection of Pascal's Triangle and probability. The engaging gangster stories and marvelous mathematicians keep students laughing even as they gain understanding into math concepts.


The number one beauty of the Murderous Math series is that my students (even my "non-mathy" ones) LOVE them! And more importantly, in talking about the stories, they are talking about the math. The Murderous Maths are a big hit among my students. I have the entire series available in my class library for students to read or check out.  Sometimes we use specific sections to accompany a unit we are studying.  We used  the entire book of The Fiendish Angletron for students in trigonometry.  I only wish I could get a class set.  

I recommend the series for middle school and high school classrooms (if you can get your hands on them, see below). There is also a website with fun tricks and games students (and you) can check out.   

Be forewarned: the series can be difficult to find outside of Britain. The series is printed in the UK. I ended up buying the entire set from used books on Amazon, which in the end was less expensive than the shipping on individual books.




Math Mondays is a bi-weekly blog post (2nd and 4th Monday of each month) sharing tips, ideas, resources, and products for teaching math.  If you have questions or think there is something I should include, you can leave me a message in the comments section below or at the store in the question and answer section.

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4 comments

  1. Hi! I just found this page - so glad you've enjoyed my MM books!
    All best wishes from York, England - Kjartan (the MM author)

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    1. Absolutely! I share the best of what I find when teaching and Murderous Maths are definitely near the top. My students absolutely love these and are so motivated to try the problems and challenges presented. These are great for teaching the beauty of math.

      Cheers,
      DocRunning

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  2. Would any of these books be appropriate for fifth grade math?

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    1. You could definitely use Numbers the Key to the Universe and parts of Savage Shapes and Awesome Arithmetriks for 5th grade. If you have more advanced students, they will probably like Do You Feel Lucky (probability) and Desperate Measures (weight, area, etc.) And certainly, you are likely to enjoy them.

      Cheers,
      DocRunning

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