I really love stumbling across books that combine a compelling story feature with curriculum tie-ins and hands-on opportunities. So, when I spied these titles at Charlesbridge’s booth at the Texas Library Association conference, I knew I had to feature them here. (Winks, nods, and hugs to Randi Rivers and Donna Spurlock for making sure I left the conference with them. Rest assured, they will land in the hands of our school library and/or fourth grade teachers.)
From the jacket flap: “Put on your apron-and your thinking cap! This unique collection of yummy recipes and fun math facts will tempt your taste buds and make you hungry for more.
Explore patterns in nature while you chomp on Fibonacci Snack Sticks! Amaze your friends with delicious Variable Pizza Pi! Wash down your geometry assignment with some Milk and Tangram Cookies!”
Indeed, this book is a marriage of cook book and math games. Within each recipe chapter, “Math Appeteasers” offer trivia, mind benders, and challenge scenarios while the instructions offer hands-on, visual samplings of math in action.
My fourth-grade son was eager to whip up the “Tessellating Two-Color Brownies” with it’s ‘secret ingredient.’ Though we discovered a discrepency in stated baking time, (the book claimed 15 minutes while our oven required 40 minutes – Perhaps altitude differences?) the result was delicious! The interactive parent-child component was bonus to the math enrichment. Beware, however! There’s a risk to baking math problems on an empty stomach. If you don’t guard the finished product, subtraction might invade your math goodies.
Where were these books when I was a student, dozing during math class? Here a couple more, perfect for the classroom…
MULTIPLYING MENACE: THE REVENGE OF RUMPELSTILTSKIN by Pam Calvert and Wayne Geehan (Charlesbridge, 2006) A fun, action-packed lesson in multiplication of whole and fraction numbers woven into a classic fable story.
From the jacket flap: Ten years ago, the Queen stopped Rumpelstiltskin from taking her first born son. Now, Rumpelstiltskin has returned, and he wants revenge. Overnight, Strange things happen across the kingdom. Mice, bugs, and other pests multiply in great numbers. Cows and other farm animals disappear.
Peter is the kingdom’s only hope, but is he clever enough to stop the multiplying menace?
From the jacket flap: Peter matched wits with the Multiplying Menace once before, but thhis time Rumpelstiltskin has changed the equation. And Frogs somehow figure into the mix.
As Peter races to find where his dog, Zero, buried the Great Multiplier stick, Rumpelstiltskin and his sidekick, Matilda, put their evil plan for revenge in motion. Armed with the Great Divide and the Frog Crystal, they attempt to divide and conquer the kingdom!
Can Peter resolve this dilemma before his entire kingdom is reduced to amphibians?