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Eat Your Math Homework: Recipes for Hungry Minds Review by Dr. Anne Margaret WrightAnn McCallum
Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
85 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02472
Can't you just tell from the title, Eat Your Math Homework: Recipes for Hungry Minds, ($16.95, 48 pages) by Ann McCallum and illustrated by Leeza Hernandez, that you're going to love this book! And if the title didn't do it, the delightful, playful, colorful illustrations convinced me this was going to be a great read. Written by a math teacher, the idea is to help kids get their hands dirty, so to speak, while learning common math principles. Eat Your Math Homework covers the Fibonacci sequence, fractions, tessellations, tangram patterns, probability, and pi, through fun and easy recipes and activities. For example, to learn about tessellations, kids make brownies, cut them into right triangles, and sprinkle powdered sugar on half so they have black and white triangles. Then let their imaginations run wild as they try different patterns as they learn. Each chapter begins with some helpful background information and a "Math Appeteaser" with an interesting problem to solve. Charts, diagrams, and historical information are scattered throughout to clarify and deepen the material. Each chapter includes an easy recipe to practice the concept.
There's just nothing like a hands-on project to bring home some of these concepts for kids (and mom and dad)! Trying different fraction combinations with Fraction Chips, or figuring out pi from Variable Pizza, or practicing probability concepts with Probability Trail Mix, will leave a lasting, and delicious, impression on our kids. We loved the overall concept of the book, the helpful explanations, the easy and clear directions, the clever recipes and activities, and the charming illustrations. This is just a fun book (oh, and your kids will learn something, too)! It is recommended for ages 7 to 10, but could be adapted up or down a bit as needed. The recipes can be made with minimal help from mom or dad, although they would be most fun as a family activity. And perhaps the best part, we were so interested in some of the concepts that we had to go look up more information! It's a great sign when an educational book whets your appetite to learn more! My family highly recommends Eat Your Math Homework for families who are ready to go beyond boring worksheets and have some fun while they learn math.