## Thursday, February 27, 2014

### Best Hands-on Math Books

There are several different ways to approach the topic of math. Some people prefer the straight-forward method of manipulating numbers and learning to apply formula. Others however, need to understand the application of the formula. The application gives math purpose and makes it important. Here are several resources which explain how math is applied in the real world.

Jelly Beans for Sale is a cute book that introduces children to money. In the book one jelly bean costs 1 cent and jelly beans are sold with a variety of coins.

Pythagoras and the Ratios: A Math Adventure
Pythagoras was an Ancient Greek mathematician who became interested in music. He discovered a set of ratios that work to make musical instruments sound good. This is a great book for children studying fractions.

Life of Fred: Apples, Elementary Math Book, Math As Serious As It Needs to Be (Life of Fred, Volume 1)
Life of Fred is a complete math curriculum which begins at Kindergarten and ends at college level calculus, statistics and linear algebra. Life of Fred is not like any traditional mathematical program. Instead, it is taught in story format with a set of story problems at the end of each chapter. Material is covered in seemingly random order, but progresses in difficulty with the books. While this program is not for everyone, it works fabulously well for some. Many engineers really seem to love it. My husband wishes he learned math this way as a child. Math is put into context so the purpose and application are clear.

For those interested in trying Life of Fred beginning at the first book Apples is recommended for children who have not yet mastered addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Although some of the work will be review, children will gain confidence in their mathematical ability and many new concepts will be introduced during the first book.

For children who have mastered the four basic operations; adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing, starting with decimals and percents, fractions or pre-algebra is recommended.

The Fibonacci pattern can be found throughout nature in both plants and animals. This awesome book tells the story of how Fibonacci's pattern works.

In the chapter book, The Man Who Counted: A Collection of Mathematical Adventures Beremiz Samir is great at settling disputes. In one story a family of three boys inherits 35 camels which can't be evenly divided between the three. One of the boys is to have 1/2 of the camels, another is to have 1/3 and the last is to have 1/9. He settles the dispute by giving his camel to add to their inheritance. Once the camels are evenly divided there are two left over which he accepts as payment.

Our other favorite books can be found on our Reading and Arts Page. To see our hands-on math activities please visit our Math Page.