Review by Pat Hess, past program facilitator for ExxonMobil Corporation K–5 Mathematics Specialist Program, Albuquerque, New Mexico. From the March 2001 issue of Intersection, a newsletter published by to ExxonMobil Corporation and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). Reprinted with permission from Intersection, © 2001.
Day-by-Day Math: Activities for Grades 3–6, a math resource book by Susan Ohanian, published by Marilyn Burns’s Math Solutions, is a collection of anniversaries of two events for each day of the year. In the preface, Marilyn Burns states that these events suggest a mathematical problem, investigation or activity that is suitable for students in grades 3 through 6.
There are common mathematical investigation themes throughout the book: how long ago did this happen; how can you collect, organize and graph data; how can you figure the cost of things, and how you can measure.
This book is an excellent and unique resource book for both students and teachers. The best thing about the collection is its ability to spark the interest of children and give them a jump-start in continuing their investigations. Susan has provided resources for children’s further exploration. For example: “July 21, 1985. After searching for sixteen years, treasure hunter Mel Fisher finds the wreck of the Spanish galleon Nestra Senora de Atocha, valued at 400 million dollars. The galleon sank off the coast of Key West, Florida in 1622. This and other shipwrecks are described online at www.melfisher.org. Mental Math: How long did the galleon lie in the ocean undiscovered?” This entry definitely interested me so I'll go to that web site and find out more about shipwrecks.
In my opinion this book would be a helpful resource for first- and second-grade teachers. Some schools have science and math fairs and many of these entries would help children begin the process of developing their projects. I also think that any child would delight in exploring the entry for his/her birthday.
There are many entries that I’ve marked with post-it notes. March 5, 1853 tells about the immigrant Steinweg brothers who Americanized their name and opened a piano-making business. You are referred to www.steinway.com to see how pianos are built. Another is April 28, 1975, World Whale Day (all children love whales) with the web address provided. One more is May 8, 1924 when Tana Hoban, future photographer and author, is born. This last entry needs to have a referral to Chuck Walter or Robert Speiser at Brigham Young University to see what children in their project have photographed.
This book is a great resource for teachers and would make a thoughtful gift for your teacher buddy.
Review by Shannon Lorenzo-Rivero, intermediate school teacher, Salt Lake City, Utah. Reprinted with permission from Teaching Children Mathematics, © December 2001 by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, all rights reserved.
This useful resource is a collection of intriguing facts and enriching investigations for every day of the year. These activities, two for each day, can be used in numerous ways, from mathematics-class openers to whole-class investigations. Although the activities integrate mathematics with other areas of the curriculum, they enhance mathematics learning by showing how that discipline is related to the real world. All entries suggest mathematical problems dealing with time, graphs of data, money, or measurement. Students practice basic computation and mental mathematics while working on challenging problems. Suggested Web sites provide additional material and references for students and teachers. Most of the facts in this resource deal with well-known historical events and people, for example, Betsy Ross and Leonardo da Vinci; but several little-known facts are included on such subjects as Silas Noble and James Cooley, inventors of a machine that manufactures toothpicks. My fifth-grade students found the information and investigations interesting and exciting. Some of the investigations, however, ask students to ponder questions that they do not have enough information to answer and that are extremely difficult to understand. Although the author states that these activities are suitable for students in grades 3–6, I think most third graders would have difficulty with some of the investigations in which superfluous information is given. This book definitely inspires students to be curious about the world around them. It also gives the teacher opportunities to add variety and pizzazz to the mathematics classroom.