Favorite books? Advice?

Happy Saturday everyone! Welcome to all the new folks who have recently found their way to my bookshelf. Thank you for the e-mails that let me know you are enjoying your browsing. I welcome your comments, you can leave them here or write to me at bethsbookshelf[at]aol[dot]com http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=bethsbook-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0873534395&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

I would actually like to hear from you on something specific–this weekend I am preparing for a workshop that I’ll give Monday morning to a small group of teachers who will be developing lessons for the Illuminations site. I am always eager for an opportunity to talk about children’s literature and mathematics. As always, I have already gathered far more books than I will be able to share during the two-hour session. Help me edit myself down so I focus in on the best of the best. When someone asks for suggestions on great book for teaching math concepts what are the top titles in your list? Do you have any advice as far as what makes one book better than another to use during your math lessons?

Today I’ll leave you with a few sources for teaching ideas:

The Wonderful World of Mathematics: A Critically Annotated List of Children’s Books in Mathematics is the first teaching resource for math related children’s literature that I bought for my personal collection. Now in it’s second edition, this book is analyzes the content of more than 550 titles. Chapters organize the books by math topic.

Hand’s on Math and Literature with Math Start is a fantastic new series written by Don Balka and Richard Callan that is packed with great teaching activities and reproducibles that extend the mathematics found in Stuart Murphy’s Math Start series. Of course Murphy’s titles can always be counted on to engage children in math concepts. Now this series by Balka and Callan help you extend the investigations with more hands-on activity ideas that explore the math concepts with more depth.


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Who sank the boat?

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=bethsbook-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=080503854X&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrMr Grumphy’s Outing by John Burningham and Pamela Allen’s Who Sank the Boat? provide the perfect excuse to splash around in a cool tub of water on a hot July afternoon. In both stories the characters pile into the boats until they reach maximum capacity and ultimately sink the boat. As each new character is introduced children can make predictions of what will happen next. After reading the book children can investigate the sinking scenario as described below.


Teaching Tip

A lot of math and science can be explored with this activity. Give each child or small group a square sheet of aluminum foil (6″ x 6″) and ask them to shape the foil into a boat. Then children then place identical objects (marbles or bottle caps or pennies or paper clips etc.) into their boats until the boat sinks. The goal is to place the most objects into the boat before it sinks.

A detailed lesson plan for the foil boat activity can be found here. Extend the lesson by having different students use different objects then chart the results. Which objects needs the fewest to sink the boat? The most?

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Patriotic Math

Like everyone else I am taking a long-weekend to celebrate the anniversary of America’s independence. In the meantime, here is a source for patriotic math activities.

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Math Wizardry for Kids

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=bethsbook-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0764141767&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr Although the school year has just ended and summer only officially kicked off last week, I’ve already heard from parents who are searching for ideas to help their children fill their vacation time with productive activities. First, planning a weekly trip to your local library is always a great idea. While at the library look for a copy of Barron’s Math Wizardry for Kids, it is full of projects you can turn to respond to the child who is already lamenting, “Mom, I’m bored. I don’t have anything to do!”

In Math Wizardry for Kids, authors Margaret Kenda and Phyllis S. Williams have have created a rich resource packed with dozens of creative projects that will not only keep children busy, but also encourage them to discover many of the mysteries and wonders of mathematics. The list of materials and clear directions are for each activity, accompanied by simple illustrations, empower children to work independently. I predict that many parents will enjoy completing projects right alongside their children.

Teaching Tip
Teachers will find Math Wizardry for Kids a handy resource for creative projects that students can do in and outside of class to reinforce math concepts and discover mathematical understanding for themselves. For example, Chapter 9 includes a project titled, “Build a Sun Clock.” Students can use their sun clock to tell time as well as learn about measurement and angles.

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Let’s Hear it for the Girls

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=bethsbook-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0452289491&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrhttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=bethsbook-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B004E3XDE4&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr Last week I read an interesting post over at the math 4 love blog. The posting, When Girls Leave Math and What to Do About got me to thinking about books we can use that present girls as strong characters AND skilled in mathematics.

Danica McKellar, perhaps better known as Winnie Cooper from the television series “The Wonder Years” does a wonderful job of promoting girl math-power in Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking A Nail and Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who’s Boss. Her third title in this series is Hot X: Algebra Exposed! and is scheduled for release June 28, 2011. [Note: Hot X is available for pre-order from Amazon.com, click the book link here to learn more or reserve your copy.]http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=bethsbook-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0452297192&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

McKellar’s books are breaking down stereotypes and demonstrating that girls can and do make great mathematicians. Her sassy and witty style not only teaches math concepts it also encourages young girls to tap into their own undiscovered math potential.

I mentioned novels yesterday that are worth noting again, Do the Math: Secrets, Lies, and Algebra and Do the Math #2: The Writing on the Wall by Wendy Lichtman who has created a young teenage heroine who uses math to solve life problem and mysteries.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=bethsbook-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0061229571&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrhttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=bethsbook-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=006122958X&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr Teaching Tip

From time-to-time we should all do some personal reflection and examine our teaching practices. Are we guilty of reinforcing the negative gender stereotypes? As role-models do we send subtle messages that it is okay for girls not to understand math? Parents, when your child asks for math homework help how do you respond? Rather than comforting a daughter that struggles with math with comments such as “I wasn’t good in math either” parents can begin to send positive messages with responses such as, “I don’t know, let’s find out together.” After all, parents are the most important role-models of all.

Posted in Gender Bias | 2 Comments

Official Start of Summer

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=bethsbook-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0393309347&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrhttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=bethsbook-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0805062998&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrThe summer solstice has arrived, bringing with it the official start of the summer season. Yesterday we began or list of books for beach reading, long car rides, or simply reading while lolling in the backyard and sipping lemonade. On this day that is the longest day of daylight I hope that you and your children enjoy reading math.

Here are a few more titles to consider:

The Man Who Counted: A Collection of Mathematical Adventures
by Malba Tahan follows the travels and adventures of a mathematical wiz who uses his skills to settle conflict and give wise advice.

The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure
is a rich mathematical fantasy that reveals both the mystery and beauty of numbers using a relatable character for readers age 8 to 80.

In Do the Math: Secrets, Lies, and Algebra and Do the Math #2: The Writing on the Wall author Wendy Lichtman has created a young teenage heroine who uses math to solve life problem and mysteries.


Teaching Tip
All of the books that I am listing this week would make good classroom read-alouds.

Posted in miscellaneous, summer reading | Leave a comment

Welcome Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks fans

Welcome to all of the first time visitors joining us today from Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks.

You might be especially interested in this post from last month, “What ten things can you always count on…“? That just so happened to mentioned the runaway bestseller by Patrick Vennebush, Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks.

I hope that you like what you see and bookmark this site so you can come back often.

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