CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 3. . . .September 23, 2016
Here we are again, back with mathematics and an array of real world situations. Crabtree has added four new books to the “Go Figure!” math series. These new books add a wide variety of places where math can be used as well as some additional math topics. Each book is laid out as a journey with a number of missions. Each mission presents a math concept and has a ‘Go Figure!’ area with a quiz about that math idea. Answers to all the questions are at the back of the book along with a glossary of the terms used. The final page has websites where further information can be found and an index of math topics. These books are genuine math reference works for young people.
Math is made more interesting by joining each concept to an area of life, such a sports, ocean life or computer games. Each mission is given two pages, with the left page providing the math idea connecting it to a situation while the right page may contain more information and always has a quiz or practice area. The pages are colourful and often have photographs relating to the place or activity described. This series of books covers a wide range of interesting topics to draw children into the math. There is something here for every student to enjoy: race car driving, shipwrecks, sharks and whales, Stonehenge, waterfalls and the Burj Khalifa, windsurfing and motocross. The math topics are also varied, including basics like numbering and also graphing, surface area and solving equations.
A Math Journey Around the Wonders of the World takes readers around the world to amazing places that can certainly tie into other subjects, such as history (the terracotta army and Great Wall of China), geography (in the Amazon and Galapagos) or architecture (with the Acropolis and Burj Khalifa). The math concepts are just as varied, including large numbers and rounding, symmetry, the golden ratio and surface areas. The pictures in this book are appealing and numerous, allowing students to see what is so interesting about the wonders of the world.
A Math Journey Through Computer Games includes topics that should appeal to students: computer games of all types including race car driving, wizards, jet fighters and shooting games. The math is equally interesting and even goes as far as three-dimensional shapes, volumes and solving equations. Although there are fewer photographs in this book, there are dinosaurs and lots of computer game images.
For a different audience, A Math Journey Under the Ocean presents the ocean with all its animals and features. Whales are always popular as are sharks and volcanoes. And there are submarines and shipwrecks for good measure. The math concepts include navigation quadrants, reading gauges, percentages and cones as well as negative numbers and fractions. The “missions” flow better than those in the other books in the series. The missions begin and end with diving, a great way into the underwater world. There are few photographs in this book, all being appealing coral reef pictures, but there are lots of other colour illustrations throughout.
Sports is a topic that can often be ignored in children’s literature, but some “out-there” sports are included in A Math Journey Through Extreme Sports, thereby drawing in another group of students. The book’s extreme sports include: motocross, hang gliding, wind surfing, caving and wakeboarding. The math topics include scale drawing, tangents, ratios, averages and speed. The inclusion of great photos of these sports on almost every page top off the book’s appeal.
The “Go Figure!” series continues to offer interesting and engaging subjects to draw readers into a broad selection of math topics. These books are a welcome addition to math reference collections for young people. The great range of approaches and locations used in this series can be used to interest students who are drawn to other subject areas into the math that is involved. A single math topic may appear in more than one book in the series while each presents a different aspect of the idea.
The math presented in these books is very real and related to the concepts that readers will see in class. The material presented is good and useful although the student will still require access to further information on each topic in order to fully understand the material. The math ideas are scattered throughout the books with little regard for the difficulty of the concepts involved and can only be found by searching the entire book or using the index at the back as only the locations of the missions are given in the table of contents. There are also hints of the math on the cover of each book: a pressure gauge, protractor, triangles or table of values suggest the math contents. This can make it difficult for students to find the appropriate topic although it can also pull their interest into the location where they are presented with the math topic.
A Math Journey Around the Wonders of the World. Recommended.
Willow Moonbeam is a librarian and polymath living in Toronto, ON, with two cats and almost enough books to keep her happy.
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other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.