The Book Shelf – Sept. 27
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Sep 27, 2012  |  Vote 0    0

The Book Shelf – Sept. 27

Stratford Gazette

Eat Your Math Homework: Recipes for Hungry Minds, By Ann McCallum, 46 pages. @ SPL: J 510.78 McC

Kids won’t need to look any further than this book for some tasty recipes that combine food, facts, fun  and yes, math as well.

Author Ann McCallum invites readers to put on their thinking caps and their aprons to make some fascinating – and edible – snacks such as Fraction Chips, Variable Pizza Pi, Probability Trail Mix, Tangram Cookies, Tessellating Two-Colour Brownies and others.

With the clear directions and explanations, “math appeteasers” and mixed-media illustrations that accompany each recipe, the finished food creations will tickle both taste buds and brain cells. Young cooks will have learned some useful math principles and concepts in a fun, non-stressful way.

Where and how we use these math principles in everyday life is explained. (For example, we use fractions and the Pi Principle when we cut a pizza into equal pieces, and we use variability if we experiment with different toppings on that pizza.)

A glossary, index and summary of relevant math facts complete this book of mouth-watering recipes. And although parental help isn’t a required ingredient, families would enjoy preparing and eating these snacks together.

Young chefs will discover a new equation with this book in hand: “Math + Food = YUM!”

** Recommended for ages nine to 12.

Mathemagic! Number Tricks, By Lynda Colgan, 40 pages. @ SPL: J 793.74 Col

Math can be fun and even magical for young magicians and their audiences with the ideas for clever tricks provided in Lynda Colgan’s Mathemagic!

The math tricks are not intimidating and they vary in their skill requirements. Some are quick and easy to learn, while others will require more skill to perform. Step-by-step instructions and clear explanations of relevant mathematical concepts are accompanied by illustrations on how each trick should be executed. The book has a light-hearted look and tone.

The reasons why the tricks are (or should be) successful are also explained.

Concepts addressed in Mathemagic include multiplication, division, prime factors, the binary number system, the “nine principle,” and the “ten-complement.”

Audiences will be impressed with the computational skills and abilities displayed by young magicians in such feats as Mummy Math, Digital Wizardry, Calculator Magic, Boney Math, card tricks and even fortune telling. Young conjurers will be impressed with their newfound magic skills and math abilities  and what child doesn’t have an interest in magic?

So here’s another equation:  “Math + Magic = Lots of Fun”!

Author Lynda Colgan is a Scarborough-area mathematics teacher and a collaborator with “The Prime Radicals,” a children’s television program about math.

** Recommended for ages nine to 12.

What’s the common denominator of these two math books? It’s simply that kids will be more motivated to learn just about anything – math included – when they’re having fun at the same time.

– Sally Hengeveld, librarian

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