I’ve been trying to add in more math literature books to our days. This book by Greg Tang contains simple puzzles and rhymes that ask for the reader to count items like ants or grapes. The counting is simple but the trick is that if you look at each picture using quick patterns you can count quicker than counting one by one. It’s a simple concept well-done and fun to read. It was a little too simple for my 3rd grader and a little too complex for my kindergartener but I think it would be a great supplement for kids in between.
Jon Sciezka serves up a odd combination of goofiness and math problem solving in this book. The book begins with Mrs. Fibonacci, the hero’s teacher, commenting to her class that “everything can be looked at as a math problem.” That starts the math curse and the narrator starts to literally see everything in her life as a math problem. Some of the problems are ones that really relate to real life (how many quarts in a gallon). Some are silly but solvable (how many M&M’s would it take to measure the Mississippi). A few are solvable but require complex skills (how to divide 24 cupcakes among 25 people) and are solved in the text in a silly way (one person is allergic to the cupcakes). And a few of the problems are sheer nonsense.
After we read the book, my thought was that it was fun and silly but not much more. However, in the few weeks since we read it, I’ve head my boys say a few times that “everything is a math problem” when they are involved in some everyday task that requires math. I’ve even heard John making up math problems about things he is doing. For that alone, it was worth reading.
Mystery Math by David Adler (the author of the Cam Jansen series) is a new book and a Cybils nominee. Of these three math books it was the best fit for John. It presents algebra in a very accessible and easy way for elementary students. The concept is that algebra is all about solving a mystery (solving for x) and the pictures of two kids in a haunted house are nice companions. It’s fun but with a lot of meat to it. Adler manages the difficult trick of making a complex concept understandable without dumbing it down. I would highly recommend this one as a great supplement for elementary math students especially those who like math or are ready to be challenged a bit.
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