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Math Fun - Math Tricks - Reviews

I have found two books I think would be fun to incorporate into any math class or an excellent addition to your library or your child’s library.

Math Smarts: Tips, Tricks, and Secrets for Making Math More Fun
Author: Lynette Long
Illustrator: Tracy McGuinness
Publisher: American Girl
Publication Date: 2004

The title tells the story. However, take a look at what’s on the content page.

I. Why Math?
II. Attitude Check
III. Get Going
IV. Math Fun
V. Testing, Testing
VI. Math is Everywhere

The chapters are short and full of illustrations and essential information. These pictures are worth a thousands words in getting the point across. My favorite chapter, “Get Going,” that uses a color coded quiz to determine “what kind of smarts you have” to share different types of study strategies. I can envision the entire class taking this quiz without complaining. Since the publisher is American Girl, of course, they included “Study Tips from Girls.” Also, Math Smarts can serve as a reference because it has holes in the spine which enables you to put it in your binder. Oh, I almost forgot. On the inside of the back cover, you’ll find a sliding Multiplication and Division Smart Chart stored in a large envelope. Children will like it because it looks like a teacher’s grading chart, and it is a quick way to self-check without a calculator.

Riddle-iculous Math
Author: Joan Holub
Illustrator: Regan Dunnick
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Publication Date: 2003

I could not keep from laughing out loud when reading this book. Riddle-iculous Math includes witty poems, riddles, as well as, what I call math story riddles. The illustrations definitely help you form a ridiculous picture in your mind. I look at the picture, smile, read the riddle story and the picture comes alive, and I laugh. In particular, I’m talking about the riddle, “Spider? What Spider?”. Some math calculation is required to solve the riddle, but I don’t think the students will mind. That’s why I like this book. A child would like the book because it’s a funny book with good pictures. A teacher would love this book for the same reason with a bonus. It reinforces math concepts. The author’s approach reminds me of giving your child chewable vitamins or fruit flavored medicine.

What other concepts does the author, Joan Holub, sneak between the lines? Well besides the short just for fun traditional riddles, you will find addition, subtraction, money, skip counting, odd, even, division, multiplication, measurement, and calendar to name a few. For example, the ingenious riddle, “The Metric Lunch Bunch Food Fight”, requires conversions from meters to centimeters to determine how far each person threw their food.

Teachers could use any of story riddles as warm-ups, or after lunch or recess. However, middle school and high school students would enjoy Riddle-iculous Math too. In fact, I’m a lot older, and I enjoyed it.

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Content copyright © 2015 by Beverly Mackie. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Beverly Mackie. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Beverly Mackie for details.


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