### XKCD Textbook/Workbook

Posted:

**Thu Jun 12, 2014 11:54 am UTC**I hated math in school. Absolutely detested it. Zoned out during class, had no patience for my homework, and couldn't stand most of my teachers in the subject.

Recently, I realized that if "XKCD: What If?" had existed when I was a kid*, I probably would have been at least somewhat more enthusiastic about math. I was never curious about numbers on a page, but I've always been curious about the world around me. "What If?" links the two in a genuine and interesting way. That's the purpose of word problems in general, but the word problems in existing textbooks were (and still seem to be) transparently artificial.

My thought** was that Randall should take the existing "What If?"s, as well as some of the other workable questions he has sent, sort them by difficulty level and mathematical concepts used, and make some sort of school textbook out of them. I'm not sure if there's enough to make a whole curriculum, or if it would be supplementary material that could be used for review, or extra credit, or to generate interest.

Would it be worth the time, financially speaking? I'm an educator, and a writer, but blissfully unaware of the state of the market in supplementary educational materials.

Further, is Randall the kind of guy who might make a decision like this for non-financial reasons? Say, to increase the number of kids who are interested in math (or even decrease the number who are openly hostile to it)?

*Note: Randall would have to be pretty darn old for this to have been the case. This thread is not meant to express regret about the unreality of an impossible past.

**Disclaimer: I doubt I'm the first person to have this thought, but a search using the terms "XKCD textbook" yielded 91 pages of results on the forum, and I absolutely lack the patience to comb through every single one of them. "XKCD math textbook" narrowed the results to 14 pages, and perusing the first two didn't show anything on this topic going back to 2011, meaning that there still could be discussion of a textbook based on the regular strips, but if the topic is three years old, and merely related rather than the same, a new topic is just as reasonable a choice as a thread necro.

Recently, I realized that if "XKCD: What If?" had existed when I was a kid*, I probably would have been at least somewhat more enthusiastic about math. I was never curious about numbers on a page, but I've always been curious about the world around me. "What If?" links the two in a genuine and interesting way. That's the purpose of word problems in general, but the word problems in existing textbooks were (and still seem to be) transparently artificial.

My thought** was that Randall should take the existing "What If?"s, as well as some of the other workable questions he has sent, sort them by difficulty level and mathematical concepts used, and make some sort of school textbook out of them. I'm not sure if there's enough to make a whole curriculum, or if it would be supplementary material that could be used for review, or extra credit, or to generate interest.

Would it be worth the time, financially speaking? I'm an educator, and a writer, but blissfully unaware of the state of the market in supplementary educational materials.

Further, is Randall the kind of guy who might make a decision like this for non-financial reasons? Say, to increase the number of kids who are interested in math (or even decrease the number who are openly hostile to it)?

*Note: Randall would have to be pretty darn old for this to have been the case. This thread is not meant to express regret about the unreality of an impossible past.

**Disclaimer: I doubt I'm the first person to have this thought, but a search using the terms "XKCD textbook" yielded 91 pages of results on the forum, and I absolutely lack the patience to comb through every single one of them. "XKCD math textbook" narrowed the results to 14 pages, and perusing the first two didn't show anything on this topic going back to 2011, meaning that there still could be discussion of a textbook based on the regular strips, but if the topic is three years old, and merely related rather than the same, a new topic is just as reasonable a choice as a thread necro.