have a math moment

May 19, 2009

How Many Mice? by Michael Garland

The author dedicates this book to his favorite math teacher--the book is so great, I know his former teacher is honored. I'm trying to figure out what sort of book one of my former students would dedicate to me...maybe a book of map illustrations with the dedication, "to my english teacher, who made us color maps ALL THE TIME, even though they had nothing to do with english." Or maybe even "to mrs. r--who made me keep the B I earned even after I cried and asked her to change it to an A." ha! I kind of wish I had made them do this as an assignment, just to see what they would say. They would have gotten a kick out of it, I think. Okay, enough of that, on with the book!

Ten hungry mice leave home to go on a food hunt. Along the way, they find cherries, acorns, tomatoes, and corn. Birds and foxes manage to steal away various pieces of food along the way, but eventually they make it back home and have a big dinner.

The book is fun just as a story, juliet loved the pictures of the mice, but there are also a lot of things to count such as the mice and the pieces of food they find and lose along the way. Each page has a separate question that allows you to take the math lesson a little further such as "how many pieces of food did the mice drop? and how many acorns do the mice have now?"

Counting, adding, and subtracting made fun? Seems hard to believe, but Garland manages to do it brilliantly.

Activity Idea: Practice counting with pieces of food like the ones found in this book! Use cherry tomatoes, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, etc. Count out 10, have your child eat 3 and ask how many are left. Give her 5 more and ask her to count again and tell you how many she has. When she grows tired of the game, finish the food as a snack!

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