Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ben Franklin and the Magic Squares


It's a Month of Math!

Ben Franklin and the Magic Squares, by Frank Murphy and illustrated by Richard Walz, gives children a look at magic squares (grid with nine spaces that use the first 9 digits in horizontal, vertical, and diagonal rows to have the same sum).  This is a book that contains biographical information and some fiction in explaining how Ben Franklin discovered magic squares.  Its’s fun to make up some magic squares of your own after reading the book.  It’s also amazing for children to learn about Ben Franklin’s accomplishments.  Leave some time to work on your magic squares after reading this book!

*Which of Ben Franklin’s accomplishments is the most amazing to you?
*What else would you like to learn about Ben Franklin?
*Can you make up some magic squares of your own?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sir Cumference and All the King's Tens


It's a Month of Math!

We’ve already introduced you to the Sir Cumference books so you know how clever we think they are!  Sir Cumference and the All the King’s Tens (A Math Adventure), by Cindy Neuschwander and illustrated by Wayne Geehar, is another delightful book for children and parents to enjoy.

In this book a celebration is planned for a gloomy King Arthur.  Counting the crowd who shows up for the celebration becomes overwhelming!  Through the problem solving activities and illustrations, the use of place value is explained.  We hope you enjoy this book like you did the others!

*Can you think of some other ways to draw the crowd to illustrate place value?
*What are some other times large numbers of people need to be counted?
*What would you do for King Arthur’s celebration?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Too Many Kangaroo Things to Do


It's a Month of Math!

Too Many Kangaroo Things to Do, by Stuart Murphy and illustrated by Kevin O’Malley, is an engaging book for young children.  Children can learn some counting skills as they enjoy this story.  We especially like the Things to Do for Adults and Kids in the back of the story. 

Kangaroo tries to engage his friends in play because it’s his birthday, but the animals are all busy.  As he visits each group, he finds one emu doing 10 things, 2 platypus friends doing 20 things, 3 koalas doing 30 things, and 4 dingoes doing 40 things.  Of course, the book’s conclusion reveals why the animals were busy.  We won’t spoil the ending, but young children will have fun discovering the reason!  

*Which animal was your favorite?
*How do you think the kangaroo felt during the story?  At the end?
*What would you do for Kangaroo’s birthday?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi

Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi (A Math Adventure), by Cindy Neuschwander and illustrated by Wayne Geehar, is another story in the Sir Cumference series.  In this adventure, Sir Cumference takes a potion that turns him into a dragon.  His wife, Lady Di of Ameter, and his son, Radius, must find a way to keep him from being slain by the knights.  A container poem, two carpenters, (Geo of Metry and his brother, Sym), and Lady Fingers (a cousin of Radius) all play a part in helping Radius solve the mystery of the poem.  Radius saves the day (and his father) by discovering Pi!

This book does not disappoint!  These books by Neuschwander are so clever in introducing children to math concepts through stories and illustrations.  We love reading these books!

*Who was your favorite character in this book?  Why?
*Can you make an illustration of pi like the pie in this book?
*Can you think of some times when you’ll need to use pi?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Fractions Book


It's a Month of Math!

Are you looking for a fun way for your child to learn about fractions?  The Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Fractions Book, by Jerry Pallotta and illustrated by Rob Bolster, is a great place to start!

Make sure you have a Hershey’s chocolate bar as you read this book. The twelve squares that make up the candy bar are the basis for the fractions used initially in this book.  You can use the candy bar as a manipulative as you read the text and examine the illustrations.  Many classrooms use this book but it’s also fun to use as a review at home if your child has participated at school.   We like that the author extends fractions so that more denominators are used linking the candy bar to its origins.

We hope you enjoy this book….and eating the candy bar when you’re through!

*What did you learn about fractions?
*What other foods can you think of that have natural fractional parts?
*Could you write a math story like this using a different kind of food?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Measuring Penny


It's a Month of Math!

Measuring Penny, by Loreen Leedy, is an interesting way for children to discover measurement through Penny the dog’s owner, Lisa.  Lisa decides to use Penny, her Boston terrier, for her measurement homework.  What follows is a great way to introduce children to standard and nonstandard measurements in fun ways!

Lisa measures Penny with a ruler, dog biscuits (to compare to her other breeds),  a seesaw, scales, thermometer, stopwatch, etc.  The illustrations are very engaging as the reader can see how the measurement tools are used.  Finally, Lisa measures Penny’s cost and then her value.  We won’t spoil the surprise ending….but you might guess what Lisa decides Penny could also be named!

*What was your favorite unit of measurement?
*Are there any other ways you can think of to measure Penny?
*Can you think of objects you could use as measurement homework?

Friday, January 10, 2014

M & Ms Math!


It's a Month of Math!

Today we’re reviewing two similar counting books both based on using M & Ms as counting tools.  The first one, The M & M’s Counting Book, by Barbara Barbieri McGrath and illustrated by Roger Glass, uses the candy pieces for counting and sets.  Younger children will have fun looking at all the ways they can group the colored candies.

The other book, More M & M’s Math, also by McGrath, develops more math skills such as estimating, graphing, adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing (with remainders, too). The review page at the book of the book is a quick reference for children to check what they’ve learned.

We hope you enjoy these math books paired with fun treats!  Enjoy!

*What math skills did you learn today?
*Are there any other ways you could use math with M & Ms?
*Could you write a math story about a different type of food?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Domino Addition


It's a Month of Math!

One of the best ways to develop math skills is by using simple visual, tactile objects.  Domino Addition, by Lynnette Long, uses dominoes to teach number recognition, counting, and simple addition.  This is a great book to use with early learners along with a set of dominoes so that they can manipulate the tiles as they listen to the story.  Long does a terrific job of using a readily available game to extend learning.  One example of the way she teaches number recognition and counting is through the photographs of domino tiles arranged in a number (such as 4) and then asking the reader to find the dominoes that have 4 dots on it.  An answer key is given at the bottom of those pages.
If your child is beginning to add single digit numbers, this is a great book to use!

*Can you arrange dominoes to make numerals?
*Can you make some addition facts with dominoes and write the equations for them?
*What did you learn from this book?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sir Cumference and the First Round Table


It's a Month of Math!

Sir Cumference and the First Round Table (A Math Adventure), by Cindy Neuschwander and illustrated by Wayne Geehar, is such a creative way for children to learn about math.  Sir Cumference, his wife, Lady Di (from the town of Ameter), and his son Radius are the main characters who eventually come up with the idea of the first round table for King Arthur.  Through a series of rectangular, square, diamond, and octagon tables, a round table evolves.  The distance across the table is, of course, equal to Lady Di of Ameter’s reach, and half of that distance is equal to the reach of Radius. 

Children who love language and word play will enjoy reading about Sir Cumference.  Children who learn visually should find it easier to understand radius, diameter, and circumference after viewing the illustrations in this book.  We’ll be looking at more Sir Cumference books soon!

*What is your favorite name in the book?
*What is your favorite illustration?
*Can you explain radius, diameter, and circumference in your own words now?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Calendar Ideas


It's a Month of Math!

One great way to expand your child’s awareness of time and math is by giving them a personal calendar.  We use two calendars to have fun with learning.  One calendar we like to use is the

It can be personalized each month by your children.  It provides a good exercise in counting by placing the magnetized squares in place.  It’s also fun to mark special events and change the months and seasons.

The other calendar we prepare each year is a twelve month calendar from a dollar store.  We go through the calendar and write family members’ names on their birthdays.  Toddlers and preschoolers might enjoy how we did this in earlier years---we cut out small photographs of each person and attached them to the calendar square with double stick tape.  We also mark holidays with themed stickers.  Another fun aspect of this calendar is we use it almost as a diary because daily events are written down for memory keeping.

We’ve found that using calendars specified for a child’s use is a great way to involve a child in planning.  How do you use calendars in your family?

Friday, January 3, 2014

Learning Activities for Last Year's Calendar


It's a Month of Math!

Are you looking for some ways to engage your children in math (in fun ways!)?  Use last year's calendars (wall calendars, planners, free samples, etc.) to encourage your child's time and math awareness.  Try these activities to engage your children in creative ways:

*Tear apart the months and let children put them back in order.
*Using the calendar grid, have children color code the even numbers, then use a different color to code the numbers counting by 5s and 10s.
*Cut out the days of the week and have children put them in order.
*Cut out squares denoting holidays and have children match them to the correct months.
*Cut out a picture from the calendar in three slices (or more depending upon the age of the child) so children can work on sequencing skills to arrange the picture again.
*Cut out a grid of squares, then have children match single, double, triple, etc. squares to develop awareness of adding.  For example, cut out a grid of 10 squares.  Provide single, double, and triple square grids so that children can place those on top of the ten spaced grid to see how numbers add up to 10.

Have fun!  Look to our next post on developing a calendar for this year with your children.

Let us know how you use last year's calendars with your family!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Look Both Ways---City Math


It's a Month of Math!

We're excited to be looking at math books and ideas this month.  Some of the books we'll be reviewing are fiction and some are nonfiction. Look Both Ways (City Math), a Time Life Series book, is a fun book we found at a used bookstore.  Fortunately, even though it’s an older book, it can still be ordered. There are math mysteries, eye spy fun, computation, measurement, and lots more math to be discovered. Even the inside front and back covers have math games that can be played.  Children can readily find that math is everywhere, hopefully leading to an enjoyment of finding math fun. Elementary aged children (and parents) will find many activities in the 63 pages to return to time and again.  We hope you enjoy the math fun in this book!

*Which activity is your favorite?
*Which math mystery was the easiest for you?
*Can you think of other math patterns in nature?