are important because children are natural "visual learners"
Even those too young to read are able to understand concepts and
data presented in graphs, charts and diagrams. Words are important
because kids love stories. And kids can easily relate when the contexts
are familiar and real, and the math is woven right into the storyline.
They can see for themselves that math skills really are life skills.
"They're the kind
of books that grip kids. They enjoy reading them. It's important to
use math in an everyday sense so kids just feel it all around them,
and it's just natural — and that math is not a scary thing"
- Nita Walker, Third Grade Teacher, Pio Pico Elementary, in Santa
more information visit the website: www.stuartjmurphy.com
| Level 1:
House for Birdie (Understanding Capacity): Poor little Birdie!
He doesn't have a house to protect him from the wind and rain.
So his buddies — Spike, Queenie, Goldie, and Fidget, who
range in shape from tall, thin, and narrow to short, fat and
wide—decide to help him find one. They fly all over the
neighborhood, but each house they come to is either too tall,
too wide, too fat or too short for Birdie, but perfect for one
of them. Just when the skies begin to cloud over and things
look their bleakest, Birdie's friends pitch in to build a house
that's just right for Birdie. Capacity is an important concept
in geometry. Illustrated by Edward Miller.
A Pair of Socks (Matching): Oh no! The
blue-and-red striped sock can't find its mate. It's not in the
dirty laundry, or in the washing machine, or even in the clean
clothes basket. But maybe with a little help from Pup the mystery
can be solved. Matching helps children recognize attributes
that are the same, note those that are different, and provides
an introduction to pattern recognition. Illustrated by Lois
Beep Beep, Vroom,
Vroom! (Pattern Recognition): When little Molly plays with her
big brother's red, yellow and blue toy cars, you know there's
bound to be trouble…unless she can put them back in just
the right order before he returns! Recognizing and being able
to extend patterns leads to the development of logical thinking.
Illustrated by Chris Demarest. Read Review | Activities
Bug Dance (Directions):
The bugs in Coach Caterpillar's gym class are learning a dance,
but Centipede keeps tripping over his own feet! "Two steps
to the left, two steps to the right. One hop forward, one hop
backward. Turn right! Wiggle left. Wiggle right. Do the Bug
Dance every night!" Sheet music is provided for the musically
inspired. In addition to learning these basic directions, children
gain a foundation in important mapping skills. Illustrated by
(Recognizing Shapes): First the elephants form a circle, then
the monkeys make a square. Circus shapes are everywhere! Can
you find all the circles, squares, triangles and rectangles?
Recognizing shapes is the beginning of geometric thinking. Illustrated
by Edward Miller.
Double the Ducks
(Doubling Numbers): The young cowboy has his two hands full
with five little ducks. They need three sacks of food and four
bundles of hay. And when they each bring home a friend, it's
twice as much work. For 10 little ducks, he needs double the
food, double the hay and double the hands! The first step in
mastering basic addition is adding a number to itself (for example,
3+3). Illustrated by Valeria Petrone.
Every Buddy Counts
(Counting): When a little girl wakes up one morning feeling
"crummy, yucky, very sad," she cheers herself up by
counting all her friends—which include pets, playmates,
neighbors and even older sisters. Not only can counting make
you feel better, it is an essential math skill. Illustrated
by Fiona Dunbar.
Henry the Fourth
(Ordinals): It's "Dog Show Day" and the kids in the
neighborhood have all gathered together to see four perfect
pooches compete. Maxie's first, Baxter's second, Daisy's third,
but will the stage-shy Henry the Fourth end up stealing the
show? Identifying order is essential for developing sequencing
skills. Illustrated by Scott Nash.
It's About Time
(Hours): The little boy's day starts at 7:00 A.M. with a great
big stretch. Puppy stretches, too. By 8:00 A.M., it's off to
school — "Good-bye Mom!" At 9:00 A.M., it's
time to learn, and by 10:00 A.M., it's time to play with friends.
The story follows the little boy throughout all 24 hours of
his busy day, noting the time with an analog clock face and
digital display that shows A.M and P.M. Lunch time! Dinner time!
Bath time! Bedtime! When the boy is all tucked in for the night,
friendly monsters come out to play. And then, before you know
it, it's 7:00 A.M, and time to start another day. Being able
to read both analog (traditional) and digital clock faces is
an important part of everyday life. Illustrated by John Speirs.
Jack the Builder
(Counting On): Jack has the best blocks ever. They come in all
shapes (square, rectangle, cylinders, cones) and colors. In
Jack’s imagination, an arrangement of just two blocks
is a robot. Add one more block and presto! It’s a hot
dog stand at the circus. Add two more blocks for a total of
five for a ferryboat. And so it goes, counting on more and more
blocks, all the way to the super-duper, ready-for-lift-off rocket
ship. Blast off! All the blocks fall down and it’s time
for Jack to start over again. Counting on is a strategy to help
young children understand how to solve addition problems. Illustrated
by Michael Rex.
Just Enough Carrots
(Comparing Amounts): Young rabbit can't understand why Mom is
buying so many bags of peanuts and cans of worms at the grocery
store when everybody knows carrots are a whole lot tastier.
Horse, he notices, has more carrots in his cart, while Elephant
has fewer, though Bird has the same amount. H'mmmm… Could
Mom be planning a party? To formulate addition and subtraction
equations involves being able to identify "more,"
"fewer" and "the same." Illustrated by Frank
(Counting by 5s and 10s): To put on “The Fifty Leaping
Lizards Show!,” you need fifty star-struck leaping lizards.
Where will they all come from? The first five are found lounging
in bunk beds, but the next five arrive in theatrical style,
riding unicycles and juggling. The next five are speed-demons
in race-cars, followed by five more in a hot-air balloon. Colorful
graphics keeps track of the count, first by showing how counting
by 5s works, and then showing how counting by 10s is related:
Kids can easily see how each group of 10 lizards divides into
two groups of 5. Will there be enough lizards by show time?
Counting by 5s and 10s is an important skill that helps children
master multiplication facts, tell time, and count money. Illustrated
by JoAnn Adinolfi.
3 Little Firefighters
(Sorting): It's parade day for the 3 little firefighters and
they have to look their best. But their coats are missing buttons
and their belly buttons show! Time to get out the button box.
Each coat will need 4 buttons. They try to sort them by color,
and then by shape, but they can't make enough sets. What if
they try sorting by size instead? Ink Spot the dog wants to
help! Sorting by attributes lays the groundwork for understanding
number patterns and identifying geometric shapes. Illustrated
by Bernice Lum.
(Comparing Weights): Maddie's birthday party and the house is
a mess! Toys are everywhere, even in the bathroom. Dad helps
carry heavy things up to her room, while Maddie gathers the
rest. But it's up to Maddie to put everything away. As Jumbo
the cat and Teenie the dog watch, she turns into "Mighty
Maddie," a caped super-hero able to sort toys in a flash
by how much they weigh. The fire truck is heavy, but the ballerina
tutu is light, and the feather tiara is even lighter. Sometimes
things that are big, such as pillows, are lighter than things
that are small, such as books. Will Maddie manage to get everything
stashed away neatly in time for the party? And why is Jumbo
smiling and Teenie's tail wagging? Understanding that the weight
of an object is not always dependent on size—mass—is
an important measurement. Illustrated by Bernice Lum.
(Odd and Even Numbers): B'rrrr. It's a cold snowy day and Farmer
Bill is missing one of his mittens. The cow, three chickens
and two horses are in the same pickle. Instead of having an
even 2, 4, 6 or 8 mittens for their hands, hooves and feet,
they've got 1, 3, 5 and 7. How odd! Can you guess who the barnyard
mitten thief is? Identifying the difference between odd and
even numbers is essential to understanding our number system.
Illustrated by G. Brian Karas.
Chairs (Subtracting One): When six monsters get together to
play musical chairs, you'd better watch out! "Stomp, stomp,
SNORT. Shake, shimmy, SHOUT! When the music stops, one monster
is OUT!," sings the leader of the monster band. One by
one the players are tagged out until there's only one left:
The winner! Knowing how many objects are left when one is taken
away from a group is a first step in understanding the concept
of subtraction. Illustrated by Scott Nash.
(Number Order): It's picture-taking at the Lumpkin family reunion
and Uncle Howie wants all the cousins to line up by age—from
one-year-old Jacob to 15 year-old Tanya. "Say Sassafras!"
But when Uncle Howie clicks the shutter, something always seems
to go wrong. "Great galloping gillywhoppers!" Learning
to arrange numbers in order helps develop counting skills and
prepares children to understand our number system. Illustrated
by John Wallace.
Party (Sequencing): Rabbit throws the best sleep over parties!
There's pizza, hot fudge sundaes, sleeping bags, scary stories
and more. Can you remember what happened first? Then next? And
after that? Sequencing is a key concept in math as well as story
comprehension. Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz.
Seaweed Soup (Matching
Sets): Turtle is such a generous and good friend that none of
his buddies can say no when he invites them to lunch for a bowl
of that "thick and green, gooey and slimy" delicacy,
seaweed soup. Will he have enough matching place settings for
everybody? Not to worry…this is one resourceful turtle.
Understanding sets is an important step in counting, as well
as in learning about patterns. Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz.
The Best Bug Parade
(Comparing Sizes): In Ladybug's garden, everything is relative.
Who's big? Bigger? Biggest? Long, longer, longest? Short, shorter,
shortest? Line up! It's time for the best bug parade of all.
Comparing sizes is a simple form of classification and is necessary
for the development of measurement skills. Illustrated by Holly
The Greatest Gymnast
of All (Opposites): There is simply no stopping "Zipping,
Zooming Zoe," who just happens to be the "Greatest
Gymnast of All." She's up, then down, on the mat, then
off, over the hoop, then under. Recognizing opposites helps
children develop the spatial sense necessary for the development
of geometry concepts. Illustrated by Cynthia Jabar.
100 Days of Cool
(Numbers 1 - 100): When Mrs. Lopez tells her class that they're
going to celebrate "100 Days of School," Maggie hears
"100 of Days of Cool" instead. Mrs. Lopez thinks that's
a great idea, too. So for the next 100 days, Maggie, along with
her buddies Nathan, Yoshi, and Scott, come up with 100 different
ways to be cool. They wear funny glasses, fancy socks, decorate
their bikes, even dress up in cloths from the wacky 1970s. A
number line is used to keep track of their progress. Understanding
the concept of 100 is a benchmark for children as they become
familiar with percentages and place value. Illustrated by John
A Fair Bear Share
(Regrouping): Mama Bear wants to make her special Blue Ribbon
Blueberry Pie, but it's up to her four cubs to gather enough
nuts, berries and seeds. Three of the cubs go at it with gusto,
adding up their treasures by arranging them in groups of tens
and ones. But they don't have enough! Will their little sister—the
one who spent the afternoon skipping, running and turning cartwheels—come
through and save the day? Learning how to regroup numbers is
essential for solving more advanced addition problems. Illustrated
by John Speirs.
Animals on Board
(Adding): Wow! It's a caravan of trucks, each carrying an exotic
load. There are three tigers on the first truck, followed by
two more on the next truck. How many tigers in all? Then come
trucks filled with different numbers of swans, frogs, horses
and even pandas. How many are there of each animal? And where
are they headed? And what's hidden under the tarp of driver
Jill's extra-wide truck? Simple addition equations help children
to understand basic arithmetical operations. Illustrated by
Best! (Area): Jill can't believe it. Her older sister Jenny
and older brother Jeff are at it again, arguing over who's got
the better backpack and better book. But their biggest battle
is over who has the best bedroom in their new house. To measure
the area of their windows, they use sheets of paper. Yet even
though their windows are different shapes, they both need the
same number of sheets—12—to cover the glass. Their
windows have the exact same area! Sheets of newsprint come in
handy for measuring floor space. Meanwhile, Jill's just happy
that her little room is way down the hall. Understanding that
area is a two-dimensional measurement of space is a basic concept
of geometry. Illustrated by Marsha Winborn.
and the Space Shapes (Three-Dimensional
Shapes): Sam—a.k.a. "Captain Invincible"—and
his trusty space pooch Comet have their hands and paws full
trying to navigate through the universe. Meteor showers, flying
saucers, and a "galactic beast" are some of the dangers
lurking among the stars. They have to push the right button—the
cube, pyramid, cylinder, cone, sphere or rectangular prism—in
order to land safely in…Sam's bedroom! Recognizing and
classifying three-dimensional shapes is an important part of
geometry. Illustrated by Rémy Simard.
Coyotes All Around
(Rounding): It's another fine desert day for the counting coyotes:
Clumsy, Clever, Cool, Careful and Little One. Clumsy thinks
there must be hundreds of roadrunner birds, but Clever thinks
that's a little high and encourages the other four coyotes to
take a count. When it comes time to add up the totals, Clever
says she can do in it her head by using rounding. Instead of
adding 21+12+17+8, Clever rounds the numbers and adds 20+10+20+10,
estimating the total will be 60. The actual total is 58, so
she's pretty close. The coyotes then try counting lizards and
grasshoppers. Clever's fast estimating amazes her friends. The
story is also filled with lots of coyote factoids. Rounding
and then computing are necessary skills for making sound estimates.
Illustrated by Steve Björkman
(Subtracting): Who knew that riding an elevator could be such
an adventure? Ben meets his Mom at her office on the 10th floor,
then together they make several stops on their way down. They
find cows and chickens at "Farm Bank and Trust" on
the 8th floor, and a traffic jam at "Speedway Delivery"
three floors below. As for the "Hard Rock Candy Store,"
you've got to see it to believe it. Learning how to subtract
using a simplified "number line" helps children understand
the concept of subtraction. Illustrated by G. Brian Karas.
Get Up and Go!
(Time Lines): The puppy is worried. Will his Little Girl be
ready to go to school on time? First there's a five-minute snuggle
with Teddy. Then another three minutes spent washing up, and
eight minutes for breakfast. And there's still so much more
to do! Pup creates a colorful timeline to help keep track. Constructing
and interpreting timelines helps children determine elapsed
time using such skills as adding on to find sums. Illustrated
by Diane Greenseid.
Give Me Half!
(Understanding Halves): When a little boy tries to eat a whole
pizza without sharing half with his sister, it's not pretty.
Of course, she isn't too keen on sharing her juice or cupcakes.
With a little adult prodding, however, they soon learn the benefits
of sharing and split everything in half, including clean-up
chores. Recognizing that half means one of two equal parts leads
to understanding fractions. Illustrated by G. Brian Karas.
Let's Fly a Kite
(Symmetry): It's a good thing that Hannah and Bob have such
a nice, smart babysitter. When Laura suggests that they make
a kite to fly at the beach, the kids immediately start arguing
over whether it should be decorated with a lightning bolt or
a whale. Laura draws a line down the length of the kite, so
they each have exactly the same size and shape to draw on. Later,
the kids divide the back seat of the car, the beach blanket
and even their sandwiches into two equal parts. Symmetry is
a geometric property that helps children classify shapes. Illustrated
by Brian Floca.
Mall Mania (Addition
Strategies): It's "Mall Mania" Day at the Parkside
Mall. To celebrate, the 100th shopper to enter the mall will
win all kinds of cool gifts. Jonathon, Nicole, Gabby and Steven
— members of the Wilson Elementary chess club —
are adding up the number of shoppers to come through each of
the mall's four doors, sharing the data via walkie-talkie. Club
captain Heather and advisor Mr. Grant are coordinating efforts.
"How many shoppers so far?" asks Heather. Nicole counts
7, Gabby 4, Steve 3, and Jonathon 2: That's 7 + 4 + 3 + 2. Nicole
adds the numbers one by one: first, 7 + 4 = 11; next, 11 + 3
= 14; and then, 14 + 2 = 16. Meanwhile, Gabby rearranges the
numbers to uses "facts of 10" to make them easier
to add: first, 7 + 3 = 10; next, 4 + 2 = 6; and then, 10 + 6
= 16. Both girls come to the same answer, but by using different
strategies. Other strategies include grouping identical numbers
together for skip-counting, and "doubles plus/minus one"
(for example, 3 + 4 is the same as 3 + 3 + 1). Who ends up the
lucky 100th shopper? Let's just say it's someone who never expected
to be counted at all! Addition strategies are important skills
for adding more than two numbers. Illustrated by Renée Adriani.
More or Less (Comparing
Numbers): Mr. Shaw, the principal of Bayside School is retiring,
so all the students and teachers, and family and friends are
having a picnic in his honor. There are lots of game booths,
and the most popular is "Let Eddie Guess Your Age!"
Eddie, blind-folded and sitting on a chair over a large tub
of water, can figure out how old someone is by asking a few
key questions: "Is you age less than 10?" "Yes."
"More than 7?" "Yes." "It is an even
number?" "No." "Then you're 9 years old,"
says Eddie triumphantly. If Eddie has to ask more then 6 questions,
he gets dunked. Find out whether Eddie can swim! Comparing numbers
is an important part of the understanding the mathematical concepts
of "greater than" and "less than," and for
developing skills for making logical guesses. Illustrated by David T. Wenzel.
(Calendars): Grandma's cat Snowy is about to have kittens, and
Lisa and her little brother Joey will get to keep one. Little
Pepper, whose white fur is dotted with black spots, has a very
busy first year. Lisa keeps track of the highlights using a
calendar. Her journal is also filled with lots of nifty information
about cats. Events in people's lives are measured by time, so
it is important that children understand the relationships between
days, weeks, months, and years. Illustrated by Marsha Winborn.
(Probability): Ever have one of those days? First, Jack wakes
up late and trips over his dog Pirate. Then Dad makes tuna-fish
sandwiches for lunch. Yuck. But Jack remembers that Emma's mom
usually gives her pastrami—four out of five days last
week. Maybe he can trade. What are the chances that she'll have
pastrami today? And what's the probability that Jack's day will
improve? Learning to make astute predictions helps children
analyze data to make informed decisions. Illustrated by Marsha
(Perimeter): Mike loves riding his bicycle. This year he wants
to ride in the annual 15-kilometer race around Perimeter Park,
just like Justin and Marissa and all the other big kids. His
practice ride around the athletic field was only 6 km, while
the ride around the zoo was just 9 km. It's going to be a tough
race. Good thing Bingo the dog is there to cheer him on. Perimeter—the
distance around a shape—is an important measurement concept
for children to understand. Illustrated by Mike Reed.
Same Old Horse
(Making Predictions): Poor Hankie the horse is allergic to hay!
And every 20 minutes he sneezes. But that’s only the beginning
of his boring predictability, which pasture-mates Jazz and Majesty
waste no time making fun of. “Just watch,” says
Jazz to Majesty.” Hankie will come out of the barn at
exactly ten o’clock.” They know that Hankie’s
owner Susan takes him out about an hour after she arrives at
the barn, and she arrived at nine o’clock. They also know
which week Hankie will wear a blue saddle pad, and when he likes
to roll in the grass and take a long cool drink. Hankie’s
buddy Spark Plug assures him that predictability isn’t
always such a bad thing. Still, Hankie may have a surprise in
store for everyone… Making predictions based on the observation
of patterns is an important part of logical thinking. ). Illustrated
by Steve Björkman.
on Parade (Counting by 2s, 3s, and 4s): The "Monkey Day"
parade is a very big deal. The crowd loves to watch the Monkey
Cyclists who cycle two by two (2, 4, 6, 8…). They're followed
by the Monkey Tumblers, who travel in groups of three (3, 6,
9, 12…). Finally there's the Monkey Band lined up four
across (4, 8, 12, 16…). Counting by 2s, 3s and 4s is called
skip-counting and is an important step in the development of
multiplication skills. Illustrated by Lynne Cravath.
Super Sand Castle
Saturday (Measuring): Juan, Sarah and Laura are building sand
castles. But which one's tallest? Juan's is only two shovels
high, while Sarah's is three. Laura's moat is one big spoon
deep, while Juan's is two little spoons deep. Too bad their
shovels and spoons aren't the same size. But "an inch is
always an inch," says Larry the Lifeguard, using a tape
measure to determine the winners. Children learn that it is
helpful to use standard units of measure to make accurate comparisons.
Illustrated by Julia Gorton.
(Tallying): The O'Malleys are driving to the beach for vacation.
Eric, Bridget, and little Nell are getting bored in the back
seat, so Mom suggests a Tally game. They decide to count cars
on the highway. Each of the kids picks a color - silver for
Eric, blue for Bridget, and red—always red—for Nell,
while Mom sets the timer. Eric trounces the competition and
gets to wear the Shamrock medal. And his sister dubs him "Tally
O'Malley!" But will he be able to hang on to the title
when they tally t-shirt colors while waiting in line for ice
cream, or tally train cars? Tally marks are a useful tool for
children to keep track as they count, and for data collection.
Grouping tally marks also reinforces counting by fives. Illustrated
by Cynthia Jabar.
The Best Vacation
Ever (Collecting Data): The family needs a break. Everybody's
always so busy. But where should they go? A very smart and practical
little girl asks some key questions and charts the answers.
Mom wants to go some place quiet and cool. Grandma and brother
Charlie are looking for fun. And everybody but Dad wants Fluffer
the cat to come along. Is there any place that'll make everyone
happy? Learning to organize and interpret data develops the
ability for critical thought. Illustrated by Bernard Westcott.
The Sundae Scoop
(Combinations): Winnie, the nice lady in charge of the cafeteria,
has a stupendous idea for the school picnic: "Let's make
sundaes!" Lauren, James and Emily help out and are amazed
by how many different kinds of sundaes you can make with just
two ice-cream flavors, two sauces and two types of toppings.
But when supplies run low, the number of combinations changes.
Determining how many different combinations can be made from
given sets of items is an important first step in understanding
probability. Illustrated by Cynthia Jabar.
Rodeo Time (Reading
a Schedule): Katie and Cameron are all excited to help their
uncle, Cactus Joe, with chores at the rodeo. Their first chore
is watering the horses before the Bareback Bronc Riding event.
"It starts at 3:00, so be there at 2:00 sharp," Joe
tells them. "You'll need an hour to get the job done."
Katie makes a schedule. The next day, the rodeo starts with
a Parade and Grand Entry at 10:00 a.m., followed by lunch at
noon, and then it's time to water the horses at 2:00 p.m. By
lunchtime, Katie and Cameron are running late. They feel awful
when the see Cactus Joe taking care of the horses because they
didn't arrive in time. But they get a chance to make it up by
catching loose calves one half hour before the Calf Roping Contest.
Katie makes up another schedule: Barrel Racing at 10:30 a.m.,
lunch at noon, Livestock Show at 1:30 p.m., then catching calves
at 2:30 p.m. Cameron checks his watch and this time they make
it! For the really important final task of handing out ribbons
for the Bull Riding Championship —Cactus Joe's specialty
— Katie's schedule includes both the starting and ending
time for events, so they'll be sure to be on time. But even
the best plans can get knocked off course when a bunch of bicycle-riding
clowns drive by. Will the kids make it? Reading a schedule involves
time-telling skills, developing a sense of elapsed time, and
an ability to anticipate and plan. Illustrated by David T. Wenzel.
At stake: two free tickets to the All-Star Game. And all you
have to do is guess the correct number of jelly beans in a jar
at the Planet Toys store. One particularly smart boy has an
idea: Why guess when you can estimate? He plays a game with
his buddy as they head over to the store on the bus. With four
people per row, 10 rows, and a few folks standing in the aisle,
he estimates that there are 43 people on the bus. "I didn't
even need a pencil," he boasts. Knowing how to estimate
is an essential skill that helps children determine approximate
totals as well as check the reasonableness of their solutions
to problems. Illustrated by S.D. Schindler.
Rock Shop (Classifying): Budding geologists Josh and Amy are
crazy about collecting rocks. And with the help of local expert
Dave, they learn how to sort rocks by different attributes:
size, color, hardness and type. "We're kind of like rock
detectives," says Amy. The story is filled with lots of
rock facts. Classifying objects according to attributes is a
skill used throughout mathematics and science. (Dave's shop
is a real place, located in Evanston, Illinois, around the block
from Stuart's old house.) Illustrated by Cat Bowman Smith.
(Equivalent Values): For dino-lovers Mike and his little brother
Andy, there's nothing as exciting as the Dinosaur Card Trading
Fair. Andy's in heaven on his 7th birthday when Mom lets Mike
take him for the very first time. Mike really wants a T. Rex
card, but to get it he's going to have to trade. He needs three
Allosaurus cards to get a T. Rex, but has only one. This is
going take some wheeling and dealing. Helping children to comprehend
the concept of equivalent values is key to their understanding
of equations. Illustrated by Kevin O'Malley.
Divide and Ride
(Dividing): In order to ride the Dare-Devil roller coaster at
the Carnival, there must be two kids in each seat. But what
if you're part of a group of 11 best friends? Ten kids will
fit in five seats, but what do you do about the one who's "left
over"? Meanwhile, chairs on the Satellite Wheel seat three,
which means two best friends will be left over. Every ride presents
a problem. Can the kids figure out how to fill all the seats
so that everybody gets to ride? Understanding the meaning of
remainders in simple division problems is a precursor to solving
more difficult division problems. Illustrated by George Ulrich.
Earth Day —
Hooray! (Place Value): Members of Maple Street Save-the-Planet
Club are cleaning up Gilroy Park when Ryan has a brainstorm:
Instead of throwing aluminum cans in the garbage, why not bring
them to the Recycling Center and use the money to buy flowers
to decorate the park for Earth Day? Mrs. Watson, the club's
advisor, figures out that they're going to need 5,000 cans,
so the kids start a big collection campaign at school. Cans
are grouped in bags of 10, 100 and 1,000. Recycling facts are
sprinkled throughout the illustrations. Understanding place
value is key to working easily with large numbers. Illustrated
by Renée Adriani.
Game Time! (Time):
Last year, the Falcons were the soccer league champs. Can the
Huskies beat them this year? The big game is only seven days
away—just one week. Then it's only one day away—24
hours. Then it's only an hour away—60 minutes. At first
the Falcons come on strong, scoring during the first 15-minute
quarter. Will the Huskies catch up by the half, 30 minutes into
the game? It's a nail-biter, right down to the last second!
The relationships between the various units of time—seconds,
minutes, hours, days, and weeks—and how clocks and calendars
represent these units are important concepts for children to
understand. Illustrated by Cynthia Jabar.
(Angles): The car drives away and suddenly it’s just Hector
the cat and three clever hamsters – Pipsqueak, Chuckles
and Moe. The hamster champs offer to show Hector their new stunt,
which requires they leave the safety of their cage, only if
Hector promises not to chase them. “All right,”
he says, “But if I get bored…watch out!” Using
a protractor to measure a 30-degree angle, the hamsters set
up a ramp made out of a board supported by blocks. Then they
get in a toy car on the couch and race down another ramp—this
one made of pillows – which gives them enough speed to
climb up the board and briefly fly in the air. Wheee! Hector’s
not impressed. So they try again with a 45-degree angle. But
the 60-degree angle is too steep. Hector’s getting bored!
He wants a larger angle. Guess what happens when the champs
try a 180-degree angle? Learning about angles helps children
identify and describe different geometric shapes. Illustrated
by Pedro Martin.
Jump! (Fractions): It's Field Day at camp. The 12 campers—a
kookaburra, an emu, two platypuses, three koalas, four dingoes
and Kangaroo—can't wait for the games to start. The group
divides into halves, then thirds and finally fourths to make
equal-sized teams (6, 4 and 3 each) for the big competitions.
But it's each camper for himself in the long jump, which is
Kangaroo's personal favorite. Seeing the relationship between
division and fractions is an important step in understanding
fractions. Illustrated by Kevin O'Malley.
Lemonade for Sale
(Bar Graphs): When members of the Elm Street Kids' Club decide
to sell lemonade to raise money to fix up their clubhouse, they
do it in style. Dressed in special "lemon hats," with
Petey the Parrot, the club mascot squawking, "Lemonade
for Sale!," business booms at first. Sheri keeps track
on a bar graph, plotting the number of cups sold against the
days of the week. But suddenly sales drop when Jed the Juggler
comes to town. What will the Elm Street kids do? Gathering,
charting and comparing data is an important skill for assessing
progress and making predictions. Illustrated by Tricia Tusa.
Less Than Zero
(Negative Numbers): It is so much fun to be a penguin—especially
when you can swirl around on your very own ice scooter. Perry
really wants one, but they cost 9 clams and he doesn't have
a clam to his name. Then mom pays him 4 clams to trim the ice
in front of their house. Perry decides to make a chart to track
his savings. So far, so good! But then he goes to the Ice Circus
with Fuzzy and it costs 5 clams. Fuzzy lends him the extra clam
and now Perry is in debt and has to mark his chart at -1. When
Baldy loans him 2 clams for a Fishy Float, the total dips even
further, to -3. Will Perry be able to climb out of negative
number territory, pay back his friends, and make enough money
for a scooter? Good thing there's always plenty of snow to shovel!
The introduction of negative numbers extends a child's knowledge
of the number system and is an important concept in algebra.
Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz.
Polly's Pen Pal
(Metrics): Polly's new pen-pal, Ally, lives in Montreal, Canada,
where they use the metric system. Polly and Ally have lots in
common — they both have cats, like the color purple, and
are just about the same size and weight. But when Ally writes
that she is 125 centimeters tall, Polly needs to ask her Dad
for help to figure out how tall that really is. Dad uses a baseball
bat about 1 meter — 100 centimeters — long as a
reference, and shows Polly that one centimeter is about the
width of his little finger. Dad helps Polly figure out grams
and kilograms, and meters and kilometers, also by using every
day references she can relate to. The use of rough equivalents
in terms of familiar objects and distances helps kids become
familiar and comfortable with the metric system, Illustrated
by Rémy Simard.
Ready, Set, Hop!
(Building Equations): Who's the better hopper? Matty, the tall
frog? Or Moe, who's just plain big? Only a hopping contest can
settle the matter. It takes Moe only five hops to make it to
the big rock. Matty needs two more hops. So how many hops did
Matty take? (5 hops + 2 hops = ?). The happy hoppers keep going
until—splash!—they're in the pond. Knowing how equations
are built is central to children's learning how to interpret
and write number sentences. Illustrated by Jon Buller.
Room for Ripley
(Capacity): The guppy in the pet store ripples through the water
as he swims, so Carlos names him Ripley. Carlos wants to buy
Ripley, though first he needs to set up a fish bowl at home
with a little help from big sister Ana. He pours a cup of water
into the bowl, but it isn't nearly enough. Then another cup,
which makes a pint. But he needs more. How many pints make a
quart? How many quarts in a half-gallon? In a gallon? It sure
takes a lot of water to keep a little fish happy! Children need
to understand the relationships between the various units used
to measure liquid capacity. Illustrated by Sylvie Wickstrom.
Safari Park (Finding
Unknowns): Grandpa's taking all the grandkids to the neatest
amusement park ever: Safari Park. The Jungle King rides all
cost 4 tickets. Rhino Rides are just two tickets. Monkey Games
and Tiger Treats are a bargain at one ticket each. But a ride
on the "spectacular, amazing, heart-pounding Terrible Tarantula"
costs six tickets! Each of the kids has 20 tickets and has to
figure out the best combination to have the most fun. What would
you choose? An essential part of early algebraic thinking is
understanding a "number sentence" with a missing element
(8 + ? = 20), and the process for figuring out the unknown.
Illustrated by Steve Björkman.
(Subtracting Two-Digit Numbers): The Ocean City Sharks swim
team—Gill, Fin, Stripes, Tiny, and the hammerhead twins,
Flip and Flap—really want to go the state swim meet, but
they're short on funds. If they can swim 75 laps over the next
four days, the local newspaper will sponsor them. The first
day they swim a total of 14 laps (75 - 14 = 61). The next day
they do a little better with 17 laps (61-17 = 44) But will they
make their goal? Learning to subtract 2-digit numbers with and
without regrouping prepares children for subtracting larger
numbers. Illustrated by Lynne Cravath.
Wash (Dollars and Cents): The 21st Street Sluggers have a problem:
Their t-shirts are all worn and dirty. And that won't do at
all for playing against the 7th Avenue Spitfires. How can they
raise some money fast? A car wash! First, the Sluggers pool
their money to buy supplies. Then they set up an assembly line.
CJ keeps track of the money. That's easy when the man in the
convertible gives him 2 dollar bills, 4 quarters, 4 dimes and
2 nickels: $3.50 is the exact amount. But then Will's Mom gives
him a $5 bill. Can he figure out the correct change? Counting
change is an important skill needed for everyday life. Illustrated
by Barney Saltzberg.
The Grizzly Gazette
(Percentage): It's election time at Camp Grizzly. Who will win
the race to be the new mascot? Sophie's got the support of the
all-important boat club. Daniel hands out flyers and candy bars.
But with 50 out of 100 campers—50%—still undecided,
Corey decides to throw her hat in the ring. As the race heats
up, The Grizzly Gazette publishes polls showing how the percentages
break down using a pie graph. Can Corey catch up? Learning how
to describe a group of 100 in terms of percentages is the first
step toward understanding this important concept. Illustrated
by Steve Björkman.
Too Many Kangaroo
Things to Do! (Multiplying): Poor Kangaroo! It's his birthday
but everybody's too busy to play with him. Emu has to bake one
cake (1 x 1), spread two colors of frosting (1 x 2), decorate
the cake with three flowers (1 x 3) and add four big candles
(1 x 4). That's 10 Emu things to do when you add them up. The
two platypuses, three koalas and four dingoes are likewise occupied
with multiple tasks. Multiply each group's tasks, then add the
totals together and it equals…a party. By learning how
to multiply by 1, 2, 3, and 4, children are introduced to multiplication,
one of the four basic arithmetic operations. Illustrated by
Treasure Map (Mapping):
Buried treasure! Matthew can't wait to tell his friends in the
Elm Street Kids' Club about the cool map he found. It's over
50 years old and filled with clues that lead them to the new
Wonderland Park. Petey the Parrot cheers them on as they try
to make sense of dated directions. The clues don't always match
- a dirt path has now become a paved sidewalk and there's the
mystery of what happened to the big old tree. But they finally
find the "X" that marks the spot and start digging.
It's a time capsule! The kids decide to add their own treasures
to surprise the next group of friends that finds the map. Even
Petey contributes a loose tail feather. Map-reading uses several
mathematical skills, including interpreting symbols and understanding
scale and direction. Illustrated by Tricia Tusa.
The Penny Pot
(Counting Coins): Art teacher Fran is painting kids' faces at
the school fair for 50 cents each. But Jessie has only three
dimes, a nickel and four pennies, which is just 39 cents. So
Fran puts out a "penny pot" for spare change. Miguel
has a quarter, a nickel, two dimes and three pennies—53
cents. He adds three cents to the penny pot. All the other kids
contribute, too. Soon there's more than enough for Jessie. Learning
what different coins are worth and adding up change are important
life skills. Illustrated by Lynne Cravath.