23 April is recognised as the World Book and Copyright Day by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). On 4 April 2017, Scientix published eight great science books selected by its Scientix Ambassadors to give you the opportunity to read some or all of them before the World Book Day. Save the date and join us on this occasion to celebrate great literature in the field of science!

Click on one of the buttons to see the two selected books per subject.

For the STEM Discovery Week 24 to 30 April 2017, teachers are invited to participate in a discussion in an open forum here about the selected books and share ideas on how they can be used in science lessons. Scientix will award the best ideas shared with this community.

The goal of the competition is twofold:

  • To raise general awareness about science and scientific literacy through a community based approach and peer-reviewed exchange of information.
  • To show how scientific literature can improve classroom discussions and activities.

You are welcome to use the forum here to introduce yourself and to get to know other colleagues interested in science literature. Scientix will use the discussion forum to inform you as soon as new discussion threads are added on 23 April. You will receive a notification by e-mail if you introduce yourself in the discussion thread.

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Share your classroom ideas here

Robert Baldursson, modified 6 Years ago.

Share your classroom ideas here

Community member Posts: 33 Join Date: 5/11/15 Recent Posts
Use this thread to share your classroom ideas inspired by The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure by Hans Magnus Enzensberger. Looking forward to hearing your ideas!
Tadeja Kobal, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Share your classroom ideas here

Community member Post: 1 Join Date: 11/30/16 Recent Posts

I'm Tadeja. I teach math in a secondary school -young from 15 to 19 years. Here is my idea about using The number devil:

When you teach a mathematical proof technique of mathematical induction, you can use the 6th chapter of THE NUMBER DEVIL. You can tell the students to find a property of Fibonacci sequence  in the book which  they can prove with induction.
I expect students  to find the property: f(1)+f(2)+…+f(n)+1=f(n+2) from the book. Their task is:
  • to write this characteristic  (by themselves) and
  • to prove it with induction.
The proof is easy enough fort he 18 years students of secondary school. Later, when students have already done the task, teacher can assure if they have really understood the induction by asking them:
In the prove we use the iductive step:
f(1)+f(2)+…+f(n)+f(n+1)+1 =( f(1)+f(2)+…+f(n) ) +f(n+1)+1 = f(n+2) – 1 + f(n+1) + 1 = …
One can see that -1+1  =0, but this part could  also work if we would use any other number instead of 1, let say 5. Why this is not right?
By asking students that question we check if they have understood the meaning of the base case and the whole proof technique.
Robert Baldursson, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Share your classroom ideas here

Community member Posts: 33 Join Date: 5/11/15 Recent Posts
Thanks for sharing Tadeja this interesting lesson plan about the Fibonacci sequence! Have you already tried it out and how did it work?
Do you find the book useful to motivate students about mathematics?
Do you perhaps have a Number Devil in your class? emoticon
Tullia Urschitz, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Share your classroom ideas here

Community member Posts: 2 Join Date: 12/2/11 Recent Posts
Hello, I'm Tullia, from Italy. 
I teach maths and science in a middle school (from 6th to 8th grade)
I really love "The number devil book", and every year I suggest to my students to read it, as a way to make them "playing with numbers" and feel a little bit more engaged with the world of mathematics without fear.
This year I took the chance to work more on the book, with my 11 years old students and they were really very engaged.
It took one months to students reading the book. We read some chapters together at school, to prepare the "magic environment" of the book. While reading the first chapter we started getting engaged: we cut the biggest chewin-gum we found in very little parts, imagining to a cut it till the nanoscale...
Then we played with series of numbers, and we played with calculators, to find how many times we had to cut a sandwich "to reach the moon" (the sandwich was 6 cm high: each time its size was becoming half, but its height was becoming double… they had to discover how many times they needed to cut in order to reach the distance Earth-Moon).
Playing in this way, it happened that students enriched their love for our time with the book, so I proposed them to invent a game based on the book itself. We had a brainstorming and we decided to design a complete game, and its rules. We called it “The number devil game” (Il gioco del Mago dei Numeri) and we agreed that every student had to prepare 5 exercises to put in the game, in order to repeat all the mathematical contents they studied from the beginning of the school year!
If someone wants to try…
60 cards “The wizard questions”
12 cards “inspiration”
6 stars (divided in 6 pieces)
2 dices
6 pawns
1 hourglass
From 2 to 6 (also divided in teams)
from 11 years old
How to play
Put in the middle of the board the two decks of inspiration and wizard cards.
Put the pawns on the start box. Every player throw the dices: the first one is that who have the highest score.
Every time you reach a game box (except when you reach a nightmare or an inspiration box) you have to take a “wizard card”. “Roberto”, the player, has the time of one turn of the hourglass to answer the wizard question. If the answer is correct, he wins a piece of star. (Nothing in case he fails, or the time is over).
Something bad happens if the player arrives in one of the 4 “nightmare boxes”:
  • Lo scivolo infinito” (the infinite chute): throw the dice and go back of the number of boxes showed on the dice
  • Il professor Mandibola” (Professor Jaw): stop for a round
  • Il pesce incantato” (the enchanted fish): go one box back
  • La bicicletta” (the bicycle): go back to the start box
There are other 4 special boxes: the inspiration boxes, that allow you to collect a "inspiration card", useful to to cancel nightmare effects.
Aim of the game
Aim of the game is completing a round of the board AND completing the star puzzle.

images here: 

Robert Baldursson, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Share your classroom ideas here

Community member Posts: 33 Join Date: 5/11/15 Recent Posts
Thank you for sharing Tullia emoticon
Nely Stoyanova, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Share your classroom ideas here

Community member Posts: 2 Join Date: 2/15/14 Recent Posts
Hello. My name is Nelly Stoyanova. I am from Bulgaria and I am a teacher in Mathematics, Informatics and Information Technologies. The book "THE NUMBER DEVIL" provokes many ideas for working with students. I will share some of them I hope you will like them.
When I told my students about the characters in the book The number devil, some of their reactions were "I also want to have a devil of the numbers," "Let's go hunting for devils," "This book is very cool," " Are there Devils in Physics and Chemistry? " I was delighted by their desire to study and the fact that they liked the idea for the devil, but my ambition was not to find a devil, but to provoke them to become the devil of the numbers.
I used different options to get them to take on the role of the devil. I divided them into pairs - Robert and the devil, into teams - devils and boys (Roberts), one Robert and all the others - devils and etc. In the role of Robert, the kids "called" or "waited" the devil for the numbers to help them with a particular material.
I really liked the suggestion of one of the devil children. He said that when he was a devil, he first wanted to get to know his Robert and then explain to him the mathematical issues, exactly with examples from the things Robert likes or likes to do.
His "Robert" is an athlete and has many medals in racing. He is also interested in cars. He said he had problems with circles. Using this information, the devil linked the circle to the shape of the tires, rims and the shape of some of the medals. He sat down in a chair, grabbed one end of his shawl, handed the other end to Robert, and made him walk around the chair by holding the shawl stretched, and fence for his favorite devil a protected area around the chair. So he tried to explain to him how to draw a circle and what is a radius.
When I leave the children to determine on their own for what they want to meet with the devil, I get information about the material(s) which is (are) difficult for them. Every child experiences satisfaction when he is in the role of the devil of the numbers. Sometimes the Robert children themselves start looking for ways to explain things - they move from one role to another and these are very nice moments of my work.
I'll tell you some of our devilish ideas about figure numbers. The Devil Girls had ideas to draw triangular numbers on their nails, plant flower beds - in each bed the number of flowers would be a different triangular / quadrangle number, decorate cupboards or dishes with points representing different figures, and so on.
The child athlete replaced the coconuts with medals. He said that once he gathers more medals he would invite his classmates at his home. He will arrange the medals like the devil of the numbers from the book arranges the coconuts. He will first explain why they are arranged this way and then will tell about his achievements.
Another child offered to open a store. People could buy things with banknotes which values ​​are triangular numbers.
I intend to execute this idea by organizing a Charity Sale with items made by the children. Every buyer will exchange a real currency with ours and then will go shopping. He will also solve a problem related to representing a number as a sum of triangular numbers.
We played the role of devil IT specialists with my older students. We have created dynamic software with Geogebra to help other students learn different facts about figure numbers. Some of the created files are:
• A puzzles with which small students exercise the finding of face of a rectangle and formulate hypotheses to find the N-th triangle number.
• A puzzle in which students find dependencies related to the array of triangular numbers and construct square numbers.
Congratulations on choosing these books and thank you for the opportunity to share experience related to their use.
Bosiljko Derek, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Share your classroom ideas here

Community member Post: 1 Join Date: 9/3/13 Recent Posts
I`m a math and physics teacher from Croatia.Well..
First, book was very interesting to me, I`m a math teacher, it would be strange if it was not ;)..
Second, It was so interesting to me that I have decided to associate and cooperate with language teachers in my school(Yes, it is not tanslated into Croatian!!), in trying to translate parts of particular chapters.
I like the "new" names that are designed in the book, because math language is too often sterile, boring and over-complicated for our students(sorry math teachers-it`s true). There is no room for humor in math at all..
In Croatian schools there are lesson called: Binomial theorem-as you know already- it is hard to learn for students(as well as everything else).
(a + b)^n=???
Basicaly, it is hard to remember the coefficients in equation, in its disaggregation,  as well as everything else connected to this devilish theorem.
Somethimes teachers use Pascal`s triangle, in clarification, but mostly not..The seventh chapter of this book mentions it, but in a different way..starting with the triangular numbers. In this way number get new"dimensions", they become closer to the students-they can see the simple intuitive side of mathematics. Everything in math has its meaning. Nothing came down-fall from the heaven, or form down HELL.

The school hour/hours, in which the binomila theorem is thought in school can be done as a workshop for students. This workshop will cover and connects different school subjects.
Foreigh language-each student will translate part of the text. 
Craft: prepare small balls or small cubes that will be used for "making" triangular numbers(numbers get 3D)
Art: every triangular number/number in Pascal`s triangle get his own design-so numbers get extra personality (I like this expresion"numbers with extra personality")
Music: they could design musical composition-numbers are associated to notes-if you do not see-then you can hear sound of numbers and this numbar patterns.
The hisorian and chemist can tell the story of Pascal-he was not just a mathematician..he was so many more..Just like me..I`m also not just math teacher..I`m a father, healer, rock star..;)
Eventualy, this workshop could become a whole project day, and at the end of day students/mathematicians would finaly get a Pascal`s triangle and binomial theorem(and also the Fibonacci numbers-hiden inside Pascal`s triangle)

The Number Devil would help all students to adopt the binomial teorem

Maria Melniciuc, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Share your classroom ideas here

Community member Posts: 6 Join Date: 12/12/16 Recent Posts

I read this book for the first time and I think it could be easily  read and understand  by students beginning from 6th grade. The number devil explain in a fun and informal way a lot of Maths concepts and I think that will engage children.Because I teach Informatics I will suggest some activities based on the book which are related to the subject I teach: prime numbers, triangular numbers , Fibonacci numbers.The students will write the algorithms and code in a programming language for the next requirements:

  •       Giving a number a (a>1) find the prime numbers in the interval [a, 2*a]

  •     Write the number a read from the keyboard (a>5) as a sum of prime numbers: if the number is even it will be the sum of two prime numbers and if the number is odd it will be the sum of 3 prime numbers.

  •      Write in the file sum_prime.out the prime numbers used to decompose each number from the file .                                                                                                           These 3 requirements are based on the third night discussions that Robert had with the Number Devil.

  • Write all triangular numbers in the interval [a,b].

  •   Write each number from the file as a sum of triangular numbers .       Requirements based on the 5th night discussions.

6.       How many rabbits will be at the x hour rabbit's clock (take care that you will deal with a lot of rabbits so x must be a little number). The students are previous informed by Fibonacci sequence and the story with the rabbits as in the sixth night. This is a short and funny chapter so it's better if students will read it by themselves and the teacher will clear the misunderstandings.
7. Calculate the factorial of a number x read from the keyboard.

8. For each number from the file write it's  factorial in the factorial.out number. (Take care which number will be in the file as the factorial numbers are bigger and bigger as you observed in the 8th night meeting with the Number Devil).

For ICT classes I'd like students to create presentations about remarkable mathematicians  as seen by Robert in the 12 th night (Teplotaxl, Lord Russell,Euler, Fibonacci...) and of course in the end they will create a diploma for a Maths apprentice.

These are the eight science books selected for the World Book Day and STEM Discovery Week 2017! In order to compete in our competition, start by:

  1. Read one or more of the selected titles
  2. Design an idea for a classroom activity based on your book
  3. Share your idea with peers in the discussion forum above during the STEM Discovery Week 24 to 30 April

Science books


This world famous book in the field of physics explores the origin of our universe, including the Big Bang and black holes, and the relevance of concepts such as space and time and other forces that govern our existence.

Author: Stephen Hawking

Originally published: 1988

Uncle Tungsten was a producer of tungsten-filament lightbulbs who ignited Oliver Sacks’ interest in chemistry, especially chemical reactions and the periodic table. This book is a fascinating story about scientific discoveries and inspiration during childhood.

Author: Oliver Sacks

Originally published: 2001

A brief history of time

Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a chemical boyhood

Technology books

A young boy, who is the outcome of genetic experiments, possesses great tactical skills playing computer games. This may be just what mankind has been waiting for in order to fight back against invasive alien species.

Author: Orson Scott Card

Originally published: 1985

This futuristic science-fiction describes the technical evolution of robots that are originally developed in order to serve humans. However, they eventually become so advanced that humans become obsolete.

Author: Isaac Asimov

Originally published: 1950

Ender's Game

I, Robot

Engineering books

Engineers can see a structure where there is none in place, possessing the ability to turn problems into solutions and solutions. This book collects narratives and case studies to show how engineering is used to innovate, standardise and optimise.

Author: Guru Madhavan

Originally published: 2015

This book is a collection of 25 entertaining experiments and activities in engineering in everyday situations, including step-by-step instructions, expected results of each activity and simple scientific background for each experiment.

Author: Janice VanCleave

Originally published: 2007

Applied minds: How engineers think

Engineering for every kid: Easy activities that make learning science fun

Mathematics books

Robert really dislikes studying maths, but this changes when he meets the Number Devil, who appears in Robert’s dreams to teach him maths and inspire him. With the help of the Number Devil, Robert gets to know fractions, geometry and other mathematic concepts.

Author: Hans Magnus Enzensberger

Originally published: 1997

Mr. Ruche receives a delivery to his house in Paris including a great number of maths books from Brazil. His parrot likes to talk about maths and together they give lessons to children. However, he soon discovers the real reason behind the delivery.

Author: Denis Guedj

Originally published: 1998

The number devil: a mathematical adventure

The Parrot's Theorem

STEM Discovery Week IN NUMBERS

SDW17 Infograph

This infograph demonstrates the main achievements accomplished and outreach during STEM Discovery Week 2017.




‘Make your own Poster’ with your favourite subjects and resources from the Scientix Resources Respository. Read more.


Organise or participate in an event dedicated to any STEM subject and opportunities from 24 to 30 April 2017. Read more.


Share ideas for classroom activities in relation to selected science books and discuss them in an open forum. Read more.