Book review by The Mathematical Gazette

The March 2015 edition of The Mathematical Gazette featured a review of our Cambridge Additional Mathematics book. A copy of the review has been provided below:

Cambridge Additional Mathematics by Michael Haese, Sandra Haese, Mark Humphries, Chris Sangwin, pp 504 (paper), AU$50.00, ISBN 978-1-921972-42-3, Haese Mathematics (2014)

This book is designed for those studying the IGCSE or O-level both from the Cambridge Examination board. The book is split into 16 chapters starting with Venn diagrams and Sets and running through Functions, Quadratics, Radians and much more–to finish with applications of integration.

The book is a good size–about 19 cm by 24 cm–and almost 3 cm thick, so it has a pleasing weight to it. There is a gentle use of colour–retaining the feel of serious books of 20 years ago with a modern touch, rather than too many photographs and any overuse of pretty colours. Examples are highlighted in a muted brown, and simple clip-art characters have helpful speech bubbles to highlight key points. There are ample exercises for students to do, with answers at the back.

Chapters also have suggested research tasks, such as discovering uses of logarithmic scales. Each chapter concludes with two review exercises, making it very easy for the teacher and student to consolidate their knowledge and understanding before moving on.

The book also has an accompanying CD which features a pdf form of the textbook which would be very helpful for the teacher to project in a classroom, and for teacher or student to use to avoid carrying the book around. The pdf is secured so that it isn’t possible to print from it. The CD also has many “self-tutor” sections. The examples in each chapter have a self-tutor icon, and the CD has a presentation of the example. The Australian accent of the narrator is pleasant and easy to listen to. The self-tutor does more than just read the example from the book, and this appears to be a very helpful feature for students.

The CD has a “MathCard” section which is an interactive card-sorting piece of software, using cards relevant to different sections in the book.  The CD also has two graph drawing programs, one for any graph, which adds features applications like tangent, normal, inverse, asymptote, and the other program is designed to clearly explain differentiation from first principles.

Just on its own the book is excellent–easy to read and follow and with an ample selection of good questions. The CD adds considerably to the whole package. I could see students managing this book on their own with the help of the different programs and features on the CD, potentially making this very valuable to schools with a small number of students wanting to study at this level.

As for me, this isn’t a course I’m teaching but I’m keen to exploit another source of questions–especially as we need to consider sets and Venn diagrams as part of the new GCSE course. This would be a valuable addition to a UK maths department resources.

PETER HALL - Beacon Academy, Crowborough