Books, Science/Math

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Mission: Addition

Author/Illustrator: Loreen Leedy
Publication Info: Holiday House, 1997
Intended audience: Kindergarten – Grade 2
Genre: nonfiction picture book
Themes/topics: math
Opening and synopsis:
“It was a stormy day, and Miss Prime’s classroom was dark.
‘I’m going to show you just the facts — the addition facts.
Suppose you’re a detective and you find two fingerprints, then you find three more.
Here’s how you write the addition fact with numbers:
2 + 3 = 5’”
 Miss Prime’s class solves all kinds of addition problems, from adding up how many pets they have to summing their restaurant bills.
Why I like this book: Loreen Leedy makes math fun. Here’s the proof: my 5-year-old has requested Mission Addition over and over and over again. And seeing math as fun rather than a slog is a good thing. A recent study showed attitude — yours and your child’s — plays a major role in how successful your children are at math. See Annie Murphy Paul’s column about the study by Andrew Martin of the University of Sydney. With that in mind, I am always on the lookout for fun math books like Leedy’s as well as those of David Schwartz and Ann McCallum.
Resources: On Leedy’s site, she recommends having children add up all the living creatures in their homes, for example family members and pets. You could also replicate some of the activities from the book. Draw a picture  and encourage your children to write a word problem based on the picture. Then solve it. Or help your children weed out old clothes and toys and host a garage sale. Let them add up how much they make from their sales. Leedy also has a handout with Mission Addition activities available on her site (NOTE: It also includes activities from her other early books).
Every Friday bloggers review “Perfect Picture Books.” Find a complete list of book reviews organized by topic, genre and blogger at author Susanna Leonard Hill’s site.
Books, Homeschool, Science/Math

Eat Your Math Homework: Fibonacci Fun

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89… to infinity and beyond!

It’s not a phone number. It’s not a secret code. It’s not the winning lottery ticket. Nope. It’s the Fibonacci sequence.

We explored the Fibonacci sequence by making Ann McCallum’s “Fibonacci Snack Sticks” from Eat Your Math Homework. We selected a number of bite-sized morsels (gummy bears, strawberries, blackberries) and threaded them onto skewers according to the sequence. For example Cooper chose one gummy bear, one blackberry, two strawberries, three gummy bears, five strawberries, eight gummy bears for his skewer. (Side note: Mmmmmm, gummy bears.) This activity sparked a discussion about the sequence, where you can see it, how find the next number and more.

We turned to McCallum’s book for answers. You may be wondering, as we did, “Who is this famous Fibonacci?” Well, he was an Italian mathematician circa 1170. Studying rabbit pairs and their mating patterns, he devised his sequence of numbers to explain how many pairs of rabbits he would have each month. But you don’t have to breed rabbits to get the sequence. To get the next number, you simply add the two previous numbers together.

This sequence shows up repeatedly in nature, in shell patterns, petals and more. “Nature by Numbers” is a wonderful video showing the pattern’s prevalence.

But I digress…You’ll find Fibonacci fun and more in Ann McCallum’s Eat Your Math Homework: Recipes for Hungry Minds, which combines hands-on math with yummy food. Just wait until we get to Fraction Chips. Your mouth will water.

If you want to learn more about Eat Your Math Homework, check out the book-specific site. The site includes bonus recipes, jokes, coloring sheets and a full educator’s guide.