Maths and MathStart

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LER 0700 - Two-color plastic bean counters offer students a hands-on tool for understanding and manipulating early abstract mathematical concepts. Versatile set of 200 can be used for counting, sorting, patterning and probability activities.
Count and Add Puzzle Cards
Snap Cubes® Mathlink Cubes
Bean Counters Set of 200
Subtraction Flash Cards

Numbers Chart
Number Line
Magnetic Foam Numbers and Counting Stara
Hand-on Maths Activity Book
Number Bugs
Math Noodlers Game
Magnetic Foam Letter and Numbers

Products displayed here: Carson-Dellosa, Creative Teaching Press, Learning Resources® and Edupress

MathStart Promotion


A fantastic series of books combining Pictures, Words & Maths

Pictures 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.

Level 1 (Age 3+)

Level 2 (Age 5+)

Level 3 (Age 7+)

21 Readers per level, each set is $ask


>> Click on each level to find out the full list of books <<

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Pictures 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 Ana, CA

For more information visit the website:

Level 1: Age 3+

A 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 Ehlert.

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 Christopher Santoro.

Circus Shapes (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 Remkiewicz.

Leaping Lizards (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.

Mighty Maddie (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.

Missing Mittens (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.

Monster Musical 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.

One…Two…Three…Sassafras! (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. 


Rabbit's Pajama 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 Keller.

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.


Level 2: Age 6+

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 Bendall-Brunello. 

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 R.W. Alley.

Bigger, Better, 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.

Captain Invincible 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

Elevator Magic (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.

Pepper's Journal (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.

Probably Pistachio (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 Winborn.

Racing Around (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.

Spunky Monkeys 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.

Tally O'Malley (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.

Level 3: Age 7+

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.

Betcha! (Estimating): 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.

Dave's Down-to-Earth 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.

Dinosaur Deals (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.

Hamster Champs (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, Kangaroo, 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.

Shark Swimathon (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.

Sluggers' Car 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 Kevin O'Malley.

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.


MathStart Level 1 ages 3+ set of 21
with guide set of 22



MathStart Level 2 ages 6+ set of 21
Level 2 with guide set of 22



MathStart Level 3 ages 7+ set of 21
Level 3with guide set of 22



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All rights reserved. September 21 Enterprise, 2010