Jordan Ellenberg published this piece in the Washington Post (Want kids to learn Math? Level with them that it's hard) in late June which got over 1000 comments. I often ask students "Easy Medium Hard?" for feedback on my teaching but also for students' metacognition. I estimate that 80% of the time, I know what students will find easy, medium or hard...20% of the time I am wrong and someone will find a typically challenging problem easy and vice versa. (A rising 8th grade often says "Easy .5!")
Most importantly I want students to know what they know so they can be more mindful and more successful. The article mentions the famous 1992 Math Class is Tough Barbie Incident-- in hindsight, this may actually be ok and is not necessarily discouraging -- Engineering courses especially Electromagnetics and Calculus-based Physics ARE tough!!
Author Stacy McAnulty is super positive on Math as she shares in her bio: "Technically, I’m the E in STEM. My degree is in mechanical engineering, and before becoming a full-time writer, I worked in the automotive and aerospace industries. But my first STEM love was M. Can I get a hip-hip-array for MATH?"
McAnulty has written over a dozen picture books as well as stories for middle schoolers. This book, one of a set of 5 books in Our Universe series (Earth! Sun! Moon! Ocean! Mars!), helps students develop order of magnitude while learning about our solar system.