Making Curriculum Pop

New really interesting book for 4-8th graders (although I would imagine you could use this in much higher grades). The book is called You Can Count on Monsters.

Review from Amazon:

This delightful book is the result of the author's desire to teach his daughters about primes and factorization. Apart from an introduction and some explanatory material in the back, it consists of one hundred double pages: on the left page is a number and that many dots, arranged into clusters that display its factorization. On the right page is a picture that represents the same information using the author's 'monsters,' which represent the prime numbers.

Then listen to this interview with Stanford professor Dr. Keith Devlin (a man whose research is focused on the use of different media to teach and communicate mathematics to diverse audiences) chatting up the book on NPR.

Math Isn't So Scary With Help From These Monsters

Math concepts like prime numbers and factoring can be a little scary for some children (not to mention some adults.) But a new book uses an unlikely ally to explain these ideas in an effective and whimsical way: monsters.

Richard Evan Schwartz, a math professor at Brown University, has written and illustrated a children's book called You Can Count On Monsters. Mathematician Keith Devlin talks with NPR's Scott Simon about how the book makes finding prime numbers fun.

"This is one of the most amazing math books for kids I have ever seen…," Devlin says. "Great colors, it's wonderful, and yet because [Schwartz] knows the mathematics, he very skillfully and subtly embeds mathematical ideas into the drawings."

Read/listen to the whole story on NPR here and check out the monster slideshow!


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Replies to This Discussion

Thanks Ryan, you are right, prime numbers and factoring scare many fifth graders. I am going to take a look at this book.  Sounds like a fun resource!

Lillian, if you check it out - please let us know how groovy it is or isn't.


Be cool!




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