I volunteered abroad in rural Ethiopia and a village in a remote mountainous area of China. I plan to return to both places and teach for as long as I can make it work. I want to focus on STEM, but first I would like to reteach myself math and science from pre-school all the way to college-level math, such as Calculus, Physics, etc., so that I am confidently able to teach them. Almost none of them speak English, so I will be teaching them that as well along the way, since I can speak Amharic, Mandarin and Cantonese.

BUT I would like to teach them from a real-world approach where I am able to immediately show them the practical usefulness of what I'm teaching them. I've seen the website "Mathalicious" and it is inspiring. But I would like to get a set of textbooks that are widely used in academia to get them from a pre-school level of understanding of these subjects, where the only required prerequisite is to understand English, to the advanced levels. And I have also seen websites like Khan Academy but I would like something that is more official and mimics the curriculum progression flow that is standard in public/private school settings. Eventually, I hope to find a way to get at least a few children here somehow.

What I've found so far: http://www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/

This website lists objectives and goals, but doesn't list any textbooks to follow.


This is the only state website I've seen so far that includes state-approved textbook materials that I can go through. It only lists Reading and math so far and the list is not really detailed at all though.

So, to be as specific as possible, I am searching for a list of good (text)books (based on your professional experience) that I can work through to arrive at advanced math and science.

Hopefully, I can get an answer like, "Follow this progression of books "xxx". Ask here if you need help figuring out how to apply it to the 'real world'."

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    $\begingroup$ For math and possibly other sciences, follow the progression of books from OpenStax (openstax.org). (Not posted as an answer because I can't address the "real-world... practical usefulness" part). $\endgroup$ – Daniel R. Collins Dec 26 '17 at 1:28
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, that is the confusing part unfortunately for others I have asked as well. But I want to use every second of the allotted time that I have available there towards them being able to actually make some sort of significant change in their life/community/etc. I know that I wondered a lot why I had to learn many things in school and I would like to avoid them second-guessing my reason for being there. $\endgroup$ – Mike Dec 26 '17 at 1:48

Biased though I am, because I am a co-author, I think the book For All Practical Purposes (now in 10th edition) does a good job of connecting foundational arithmetic skills to the varied ways that mathematics is applied outside of mathematics. Many resources related to mathematical modeling are available on the COMAP web site:


Including being able to download the current issue of Consortium (which comes out twice a year) for free.

You might also look at:


  • $\begingroup$ I've taken a look at the first chapter of this text and while I'm not sure it's exactly what I'm looking for, it is definitely a start. The progressions are random. $\endgroup$ – Mike Jan 7 '18 at 9:20

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