REAL-WORLD MATH FOR HANDS-ON FUN! by Cindy A. Littlefield

REAL-WORLD MATH FOR HANDS-ON FUN!

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 10
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KIRKUS REVIEW

This poorly organized mathematical learning and activity book is not a first choice. Dividing her work into categories (numbers, shapes, measurement, time, probability, money), Littlefield presents many activities to enrich an understanding of mathematics. Readers will learn about numerical prefixes, balance a glass on a grain of salt, determine whether a dinosaur would fit in the backyard, make a perpetual calendar, and figure out batting averages. While most of the topics fit their categories, there are the few that are way off base—the US census is under the category of probability. Sparse background information introduces each of the activities, many of which are more creative than thought-provoking (and even when they are challenging, the answers are on the same page, albeit it upside down). The poor layout keeps it from being a solid educational tool. In several instances, the topical information and the activity are not separated by the turn of a page, and readers are not challenged to recall information in completing the activity. Even worse, there are some activities that are pointless after reading the text. For example, readers are asked to find a pattern in zip codes, when the pattern was clearly stated on the page before. Kline’s (Geology Rocks, not reviewed, etc.) humorous cartoon drawings add much to the text, illustrating concepts, demonstrating processes, and showing how to complete the activity. But with all its inherent difficulties, this is one that should be passed by. Choices better rooted in mathematics (and more fun) would be Marilyn Burns’s The I Hate Mathematics Book (1976) and Math for Smarty Pants (1982). (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 2001
ISBN: 1-885593-51-1
Page count: 128pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2001