You Can Count on Monsters

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This is a difficult book to review as it’s very visual and hard to put into words. However, I think it’s such a fantastic math resource, I figured it was worth a try. On one level it’s a counting book, with cool graphics of monsters. However, on another level it’s an exploration of factors and prime numbers that is quite sophisticated in scope. Each number from 1-100 has a two page spread. On one page the number is shown as a factor tree with the tree “all grown out” down to the smallest factors. On the other page is a monster that graphically represents the number. Each prime number has it’s own unique monster while each composite number has a monster that is a combination of the factors (so 16 is represented by the interaction of four “2″ monsters).

Clear as mud? I told you it was hard to explain. It’s probably best if you just get a copy for yourself and take a look. I first got it out of the library last summer and was really blown away by the concept. We had not covered factors yet in our math curriculum but we had covered multiplication a little bit and John immediately understood the monsters and spent a long time looking at them. David didn’t get it but he did still enjoy looking at it with us, an added bonus is that every prime monster has something to do with that number (so the 3 monster is a triangle with 3 sides, a higher prime number might have 41 angles). David could understand that concept and liked to help us try and figure out what part of the monster corresponded to the number. I recently got it out of the library again as we just covered covered factors and prime numbers in a more formal way in math. This time it served as more of a review of what we had just learned, but it was still enjoyable for us. I’ve been buying too many books lately but this is one I plan on adding to our own math library soon.

Richard Evan Schwartz’s website with a sampling of the monsters.

Nonfiction Monday is hosted this week at Capstone Connect.

3 thoughts on “You Can Count on Monsters

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