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1. 31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Ten – 2016 Math Picture Books

31daysGod has a sense of humor. How else to explain the fact that for the past three or four years I have been a founding and contributing member of the Mathical Book Award committee?  Yep, each year I read a slew of math-related books for kids.  I do it because while I personally was not overawed by integers as a child (aside from enjoying the PBS show Square One, of course), there are a lot of kids out there who are.  Where are their books?  Since the founding of the award, it’s not as if the number of quality math books have increased significantly over the past few years.  That said, I have begun to notice them more astutely.

Here are the best and the brightest relating to math in 2016.  Books that even an entirely right-side-of-the-brain kid will appreciate on some level.  And to keep it fair, I’m highlighting both books that incorporate math into the text and stories about mathematicians themselves.


 

2016 Math Picture Books

Counting Books

Billions of Bricks: A Counting Book About Building by Kurt Cyrus

billionsbricks

I’m sort of stretching the definition of what constitutes a counting book as far as I possibly can.  That said, this picture book is a subtle little number, implying to the reader that counting and math are essential when it comes to construction and architecture.  It’s never explicitly stated, but you could explain it pretty easily after reading the book.  Give it a go!

Counting in the Garden by Emily Hruby, ill. Patrick Hruby

countinggarden

I’m not always a fan of digital art, but there was something deeply satisfying in how the Hrubys chose to display the plants, insects, and animals of this book.  From a design standpoint alone I think it’s notable.  The counting is just the icing on the cake.

It’s Not Easy Being Number Three by Drew Dernavich

NotEasyThree

Not technically a counting book but since it involves numbers I figured it could fit in here.  The number three decides it’s had enough and is quitting its job.  It enters the real world, taking on different professions, before it becomes clear that the world is a lesser place without threes.

Octopuses One to Ten by Ellen Jackson, ill. Robin Page

octopusesone

Who doesn’t love octopuses?  Particularly when you get to count them?  At long last these odd alien-looking creatures get their due.  Page’s work on the art is truly stunning as well.

1 Big Salad: A Delicious Counting Book by Juana Medina

1bigsaladI’ve grown very fond of counting books that include healthy food, these days.  Anything that allows me to promote tasty veggies to my impressionable small children AND covers counting is gold in my book.

Swallow the Leader: A Counting Book by Danna Smith, ill. Kevin Sherry

swallowleader

First thought upon seeing this cover was to be reminded of Victoria Chess’s magnificent Ten Sly Piranhas.  This lacks that book’s courage of its convictions, but is still a really fun and lovely reverse counting book.

Biographies

Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer by Diane Stanley, ill. Jessie Hartland

adalovelace1

It never rains but it pours.  Last year saw the publication of one picture book biography of Ada Lovelace.  This year has produced two, with more on the way in the future, I’m sure.

Ada’s Ideas: The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World’s First Computer Programmer by Fiona Robinson

adalovelace2

The crazy thing is, for all that they’re so strongly different from one another, there are elements that I like in both.

Real World Applications

Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Infographics by Steve Jenkins

animalsnumbers

Do kids actually like infographics?  I’ve never been able to answer that question so hopefully they do.  Particularly when the visuals are as stunnng as the ones you’ll find here.

How Much Does a Ladybug Weigh? by Alison Limentani

I give full credit to my discovery of this book to New York Public Library’s recent release of its 100 Best Books of 2016 list.  Had they not highlighted it, I never would have found it on my own.  In this book it starts slowly with small animals.  Oh, here, I’ll give you an interior visual:

howmuchladybug

howmuchladybug2On the next page that one grashopper has become two and you get to see what two grass hoppers weigh as much as.

Place Value by David Adler

placevalue

To be fair, Circles was another Adler title this year, but if I had to choose between that and this, this would win every time.  Cheeky monkey chefs walk your kid through different numerical values.  Probably the smartedst explanation I’ve seen in a book for kids to date.

For Older Readers

I know this list says it’s just for picture books, but I’d be amiss if I didn’t include two of my favorite notes.

Rebel Genius by Michael Dante DiMartino

rebelgenius

A co-creator of Avatar: The Last Airbender came out with a middle grade novel this year and it’s certainly exciting to read.  In the book, students must learn geometry to fulfill their tasks.  There’s not a ton of geometry in the book, mind you, but there’s just enough to keep you coming back for more.

Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang

secretcoders

How on earth did Gene Luen Yang convince his good people to allow him to produce a graphic novels series on coding?  That man must have magical powers.


 

December 1 – Board Books

December 2 – Board Book Adaptations

December 3 – Nursery Rhymes

December 4 – Picture Book Readalouds

December 5 – Rhyming Picture Books

December 6 – Alphabet Books

December 7 – Funny Picture Books

December 8 – Calde-Nots

December 9 – Picture Book Reprints

December 10 – Math Picture Books

December 11 – Bilingual Books

December 12 – International Imports

December 13 – Books with a Message

December 14 – Fabulous Photography

December 15 – Fairy Tales / Folktales

December 16 – Oddest Books of the Year

December 17 – Older Picture Books

December 18 – Easy Books

December 19 – Early Chapter Books

December 20 – Graphic Novels

December 21 – Poetry

December 22 – Fictionalized Nonfiction

December 23 – American History

December 24 – Science & Nature Books

December 25 – Transcendent Holiday Titles

December 26 – Unique Biographies

December 27 – Nonfiction Picture Books

December 28 – Nonfiction Chapter Books

December 29 – Novel Reprints

December 30 – Novels

December 31 – Picture Books

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2. Is elementary school mathematics “real” mathematics?

When people think of elementary school mathematics, they usually bring to mind number facts, calculations, and algorithms. This isn’t surprising, as these topics tend to dominate classroom work in many elementary schools internationally. There is little doubt that elementary students should know the multiplication tables, be able to do simple calculations mentally, develop fluency in using algorithms to carry out more complex calculations

The post Is elementary school mathematics “real” mathematics? appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. Diversify Your Nonfiction With These 5 STEM Innovators of Color

How diverse is your nonfiction collection?

Often when we look at biographies featuring people of color, they repeat the same themes: slavery & civil rights, music, sports. But people of color have contributed positively in every field, including the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. These contributions should be celebrated all year long, not just during heritage months or when there’s a special focus on diversity!
5 STEM Innovators of Color

Today on the blog, we feature 5 STEM innovators of color. Who else would you add to the list?

1. Soichiro Honda

honda

Hondaby Mark Weston, illus. by Katie Yamasaki

 Founder of the Japanese car brand Honda, Soichiro Honda had an inventive mind and a passion for new ideas, and he never gave up on his dream. A legendary figure in the world of manufacturing, Honda is a dynamic symbol of lifelong determination, creativity, and the power of a dream.

Purchase the book here.

2. Gordon Sato

the mangrove tree

The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families, by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore, illus. by Susan L. Roth

Dr. Gordon Sato spent part of his childhood in the Manzanar Internment Camp during WWII, and later became a scientist. He created the Manzanar Project, which found a way to use mangrove trees to provide fuel and food for communities in Eritrea. With alternating verse and prose passages, The Mangrove Tree invites readers to discover how Dr. Gordon Sato’s mangrove tree-planting project transformed an impoverished village into a self-sufficient community.

Purchase the book here.

3. Wangari Maathai

seeds of change

Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace, by Jen Cullerton Johnson, illus. by Sonia Lynn Sadler

Wangari Maathai was the first African woman and environmentalist to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Seeds of Change brings to life her empowering story, from her childhood in Kenya to her role leading a national movement.

Purchase the book here.

4. Vivien Thomas

tiny stitches

Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas, by Gwendolyn Hooks, illus. by Colin Bootman

Vivien Thomas was an African-American surgical technician who developed the procedures used to treat blue baby syndrome. Overcoming racism and resistance from his colleagues, Vivien ushered in a new era of medicine—children’s heart surgery. This book is the compelling story of this incredible pioneer in medicine.

Purchase the book here.

5. Muhammad Yunus

twenty two cents

Twenty-two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank, by Paula Yoo, illus. by Jamel Akib

Muhammad Yunus is an economist from Bangladesh who founded Grameen Bank and pioneered the concepts of microcredit and microfinance, for which he won a Nobel Peace Prize. Twenty-two Cents is an inspiring story of economic innovation and a celebration of how one person—like one small loan—can make a positive difference in the lives of many.

Purchase the book here.

Also check out our STEM collections:

Adventures Around the World Collection earth day poetry collection

Earth Day Poetry Collection

Environmental Collection

Water Collection – World Water Day

Who did we miss? Let us know in the comments!

2 Comments on Diversify Your Nonfiction With These 5 STEM Innovators of Color, last added: 10/18/2016
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4. Read Out Loud | Peg + Cat: The Pizza Problem

READ OUT LOUD - Jennifer Oxley & Billy Aronson - Peg + Cat_ The Pizza Problem Featured Image

Peg has opened a pizzeria with her friend Cat. All the cool kids are flocking to the new eatery. However, there’s a problem. Peg is having trouble with fractions. Peg + Cat creators Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson read Peg + Cat: The Pizza Problem on this episode of Read Out Loud.

The Peg + Cat series is based on the Emmy award-winning PBS show. Peg + Cat encourages young children to take an active interest in mathematics.

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Watch Jennifer and Billy on StoryMakers!
STORYMAKERS - Jennifer Oxley & Billy Aronson - Peg Plus Cat Featured Image

 

ABOUT ‘PEG + CAT: THE PIZZA PROBLEM’


Peg + Cat: The Pizza Problem
Peg Plus Cat: The Pizza Problem - Jennifer Oxley & Billy Aronson
By Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson
Published by Candlewick Entertainment

What do fractions have to do with pizza? The stars of the Emmy Award winning animated series “Peg + Cat” serve up a delicious new episode.
It’s lunchtime at Peg’s Pizza Place. Peg and Cat are excited to take their first order from the Teens only to learn that some of their customers want a whole pizza while one of them wants half a pie. How can Peg and Cat make half a pie when they don t know what “half “is? Luckily, Ramone and Mac are there to help, with a slice up the middle of the pizza. As more customers come in, things get entertaining, with Peg singing a jazzy song and Cat doing a dance. But soon there’s another problem: four orders, but only two and a half pizzas left. Peg is totally freaking out until Cat reminds her that when it comes to halves and wholes, it’s all in how you slice it.

ABOUT JENNIFER OXLEY

Jennifer Oxley was born in Hollywood, California and caught the filmmaking bug early – she made her first film at the age of seven. Since then she has directed fifteen short films for Sesame Street, as well as the award-winning adaptation of Spike Lee and Tanya Lewis Lee’s children’s book, Please, Baby, Please.

Her latest film, The Music Box, was acquired by The Museum of Modern Art for their permanent children’s film collection. Her work in children’s television includes directing and artistic credits. Jennifer is the recipient of an Emmy Award for her role as director on Little Bill, and she created the look and animation style of The Wonder Pets!, which won an Environmental Media Award and the prestigious Japan Prize.

Most recently Jennifer teamed up with Billy Aronson to create Peg + Cat for PBS Kids, and is co-founder of 9ate7 Productions.

Source: 9ate 7 Productions

CONNECT WITH JENNIFER OXLEY
Website | Facebook | Twitter

ABOUT BILLY ARONSON

Billy Aronson is a playwright and writer. Aronson is probably best known for creating the original concept behind the Tony award-winning rock opera Rent. He’s written several plays and musicals. Also, he’s written for popular children’s shows, and cartoons including Courage the CowardlyCodename: Kids Next DoorThe BackyardigansThe Wonder Pets, and Beavis and Butthead.

Aronson attended Princeton University. He counts several plays by Shakespeare, Looney Tunes, and The Brothers Grimm among his influences. Billy Aronson is a co-creator of Peg + Cat for PBS Kids, and is co-founder of 9ate7 Productions, with Jennifer Oxley.

Learn more about his playwriting, television work, and  here.

CONNECT WITH BILLY ARONSON
Website | Facebook

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Read Out Loud
Executive Producer: Julie Gribble | Producer: Kassia Graham

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5. StoryMakers | Jennifer Oxley & Billy Aronson

STORYMAKERS - Jennifer Oxley & Billy Aronson (Peg + Cat) Featured Image

We’re trying to make math cool … It’s for everybody
and it’s everywhere. It’s a part of your life.
— Billy Aronson

Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson are the team behind the award-winning PBS series “Peg + Cat”. Peg is a little girl whose life is a big math problem, which she solves with her best friend, Cat. Her world looks like math as the backdrop is graph paper and various items are made from simple shapes. The animated television series Peg + Cat has won seven Daytime Emmy Awards including Outstanding Pre-School Children’s Animated Program, Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation (Jennifer Oxley), and Outstanding Writing in a Pre-School Animated Program.

Parents and teachers who want to continue the STEAM fun offline can turn to the Peg + Cat books written by the series creators. In this episode of StoryMakers Rocco Staino, Billy Aronson, and Jennifer Oxley discuss the creative vision for the series and several themes central to the  series of books. Fun, simple mathematics, diversity, and a seamless flow are essential to the success of the books and television series.

Oxley and Aronson offer encouraging messages about mathematics that will inspire children, parents, and teachers alike.

We’re giving away three (3) sets of books for this episode of StoryMakers. Each set includes a of copy of Jennifer and Billy’s picture book, PEG + CAT: THE PIZZA PROBLEM and PEG + CAT: THE RACE CAR PROBLEM. The giveaway ends at 11:59 PM on June 7, 2016. ENTER NOW!

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ABOUT THE BOOKS


Peg + Cat: The Pizza Problem
Peg + Cat: The Pizza Problem - Jennifer Oxley & Billy Aronson
By Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson
Published by Candlewick Entertainment

What do fractions have to do with pizza? The stars of the Emmy Award winning animated series “Peg + Cat” serve up a delicious new episode.
It’s lunchtime at Peg’s Pizza Place. Peg and Cat are excited to take their first order from the Teens only to learn that some of their customers want a whole pizza while one of them wants half a pie. How can Peg and Cat make half a pie when they don t know what “half “is? Luckily, Ramone and Mac are there to help, with a slice up the middle of the pizza. As more customers come in, things get entertaining, with Peg singing a jazzy song and Cat doing a dance. But soon there’s another problem: four orders, but only two and a half pizzas left. Peg is totally freaking out until Cat reminds her that when it comes to halves and wholes, it’s all in how you slice it.


Peg + Cat: The Race Car Problem - Jennifer Oxley & Billy AronsonPeg + Cat: The Race Car Problem
By Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson
Published by Candlewick Entertainment

Peg and Cat, stars of their own Emmy Award winning animated TV series, zoom into a picture book and put math skills to the test in a lively racing adventure. Peg and Cat have built an amazing car out of things they found lying around. They’ve named her Hot Buttered Lightning (since she’s built for speed), and they plan to win the Tallapegga Twenty. If they can make it out of the junkyard, that is. It’s a good thing Peg knows the best shape to use to make wheels and how to count laps to see who is ahead. And it’s lucky that Cat reminds Peg to keep calm when she’s “totally freaking out.” Will Peg and Cat be the first to complete twenty laps and win the Golden Cup? Or will it be one of their quirky competitors? Count on Peg and Cat to rev up young problem-solvers for an exciting race to the finish.

ABOUT JENNIFER OXLEY

Jennifer Oxley was born in Hollywood, California and caught the filmmaking bug early – she made her first film at the age of seven. Since then she has directed fifteen short films for Sesame Street, as well as the award-winning adaptation of Spike Lee and Tanya Lewis Lee’s children’s book, Please, Baby, Please.

Her latest film, The Music Box, was acquired by The Museum of Modern Art for their permanent children’s film collection. Her work in children’s television includes directing and artistic credits. Jennifer is the recipient of an Emmy Award for her role as director on Little Bill, and she created the look and animation style of The Wonder Pets!, which won an Environmental Media Award and the prestigious Japan Prize.

Most recently Jennifer teamed up with Billy Aronson to create Peg + Cat for PBS Kids, and is co-founder of 9ate7 Productions.

Source: 9ate 7 Productions

CONNECT WITH JENNIFER OXLEY
Website | Facebook | Twitter

ABOUT BILLY ARONSON

Billy Aronson is a playwright and writer. Aronson is probably best known for creating the original concept behind the Tony award-winning rock opera Rent. He’s written several plays and musicals. Also, he’s written for popular children’s shows, and cartoons including Courage the Cowardly, Codename: Kids Next Door, The Backyardigans, The Wonder Pets, and Beavis and Butthead.

Aronson attended Princeton University. He counts several plays by Shakespeare, Looney Tunes, and The Brothers Grimm among his influences. Billy Aronson is a co-creator of Peg + Cat for PBS Kids, and is co-founder of 9ate7 Productions, with Jennifer Oxley.

Learn more about his playwriting, television work, and  here.

CONNECT WITH BILLY ARONSON
Website | Facebook

CONNECT WITH KidLit TV
Facebook Group Facebook Page Instagram | Newsletter | Pinterest | Twitter YouTube

StoryMakers
Host: Rocco Staino | Executive Producer: Julie Gribble | Producer: Kassia Graham

Did you like this article? Leave a comment below.
We love hearing from you!

This post contains affiliate links.
All Rafflecopter entrants must reside in the United States and be at least 13 years old.

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6. FROM THE BACKLIST: The Librarian Who Measured the Earth by Kathryn Lasky

The Librarian Who Measured the Earth Written by Kathryn Lasky; Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes Little, Brown and Company. 1994 ISBN: 0316515264 I am on a crusade to get some really terrific and often overlooked informational picture books into the hands of teachers and parents. These books, read aloud to middle and high school students, could be a gateway for important conversations and growth.

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7. Infinity and Me - an audiobook review

Although I reviewed a print version of Infinity and Me book several years ago (my original review is linked here), I recently had the opportunity to review the audio version for School Library Journal.  My review as it appeared in the February, 2016, edition of SLJ is below.


HOSFORD, Kate. Infinity and Me. 1 CD w/tr book. 44 min. Live Oak Media. 2015. $29.95. ISBN 9781430120049.

K-Gr 3—A small girl, Uma, ponders infinity while gazing at stars, “How many stars were in the sky? A million? A billion? Maybe the number was as big as infinity.” Uma proceeds to ask friends and family how they conceive of infinity. They define it in quantities of numbers, time, music, ancestors—even spaghetti! Finally, she settles on her own measure of infinity, quantified in something that is personal and boundless. Narrator Nancy Wu is accompanied by a full cast of characters, music, and sound effects that complement the text and the book’s full-bleed, painted illustrations by Gabi Swiatkowska. Background sound effects include a bicycle bell, the “tinkling” of stars, chattering voices, and churning gears. A sense of wonder is embodied in Wu’s narration, the illustrations, and the overall production. The audiobook contains two tracks, one with page turn signals and one without. VERDICT This is an intriguing introduction to a mathematical concept, perfect for those seeking to inspire very young people to wonder about math and science. [“This quiet jewel is sure to spark contemplation and conversation": SLJ 10/12 review of the Carolrhoda book.]

 ##

Copyright © 2016 Library Journals, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.
Reprinted with permission.


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8. Sparking Students’ Interest In Math

counting on 1

Sarah’s students practicing “counting on”

When it’s time for a math lesson, Sarah Richardson’s kindergarten class sits in a group, with one hand on their heads, counting on the other hand in front of them.  They’re learning addition using a method called “counting on”. This can be a very tricky skill for some of Sarah’s students.

After a tough math lesson, the students sit down to enjoy a new story.  She begins to read a book about a builder named Jack who uses different numbers of blocks to build robots, a hot dog stand and the tallest building in the world.  He adds on more and more blocks to create bigger and better structures.

Sarah’s students aren’t just enjoying a new story. As she reads, the students begin to use the skills they just learned to solve the problems in the book.

Math can be tricky for many students. Michelle Evans, a Reading and Literacy Coach at Joseph Keels Elementary in Columbia, SC has observed some of her students being timid and reserved when it comes to participating in math lessons.

“They’re afraid to take risks for fear of not having the right answer,” she says.

class with book editedSarah has noticed similar behavior in her students during math class.  “Some students tend to not participate because they are shy, or feel that if someone else knows the answer first, they don’t need to answer,” she explains.

Michelle and Sarah searched for books to help those who struggled with math concepts. They recently found the MathStart series on the First Book Marketplace. The series is filled with vivid illustrations and fun, real-life stories that represent math concepts.  The books have helped their students gain confidence when participating in math lessons –and they’re more excited about math.

“I’ve witnessed my students become more confident in their mathematical abilities.  The books are helping them have a deeper understanding of math,” says Michelle.

Sarah’s students love to read the books on their own after they’ve discussed them in class.

IMG_4606editSarah and Michelle are not alone. First Book surveyed 89 educators who have used these books with their students and 74% said they used these books to help spark their kids’ interest in math.

Michelle has seen her students select MathStart books during independent reading.  They copy and complete word problems from the books.  They’re choosing to do math problems and understanding the concepts on their own.

First Book was able to bring this collection of books to the First Book Marketplace thanks to the support American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM.) 

Do you work with kids in need?  You can access this great math series, and many other books and resources, by signing up.

The post Sparking Students’ Interest In Math appeared first on First Book Blog.

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9. Edgar Allan Poe's Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems vt J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Michael Slack

J. Patrick Lewis, former U.S. Children's Poet Laureate and author of Take Two! A Celebration of Twins and World Rat Day: Poems About Real Holidays You've Never Heard Of, among many others, had written Edgar Allan Poe's Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems, illustrated by Michael Slack. In Edgar Allan Poe's Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems, not only does Lewis parody poems by greats like

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10. Making sense of mathematics

Mathematics is used in increasingly sophisticated ways in modern society, explicitly by experts who develop applications and implicitly by the general public who use technological devices. As each of us is taught a broad curriculum in school and then focuses on particular specialisms in our adult life, it is useful to ask the question ‘what does it mean to make sense of mathematics?’.

The post Making sense of mathematics appeared first on OUPblog.

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11. App of the Week: PhotoMath

Photomath
Title: PhotoMath
Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: Free

From WordLens (now part of Google Translate) to Invisibility 3D, apps which use the camera as an input tool to harness machine intelligence always interest me. When one such app, PhotoMath hit the top of the download charts last year, there was some minor outcry among educators. Would students use the app to cheat? But while the PhotoMath app reads and solves mathematical problems by using the camera of your phone and tablet in real time, it is far from the scourge of math teachers. Like Wolfram Alpha, it is a nice tool to have on hand when you can't remember enough math to help students with their work.

IMG_3411

Within the app with an active camera, you can manipulate the size of the datawell to pick up the whole of more complicated questions, and the app solves advanced math problems including quadratic equations and inequalities. The app goes beyond solutions, anticipating the admonition to "show your work." A red button opens the step-by-step process for doing just that.

IMG_3413

You can flag incorrect answers, and updates build upon the errata to produce a more robust tool.

The app has its limitations. It can only scan printed text, so it won't work on a teacher's handwritten equations. And, given the push towards more constructivist assignments and the intuitive mathematical understanding embodied by the Common Core, I don't see it as a tool for cheating beyond the solutions which math textbooks have been including for decades. Y

Have a suggestion for a featured App of the Week? Let us know. And don't forget to check out more great apps in our archive.

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12. Tortoise and Hare's Amazing Race

Yesterday I received ARCs (advanced reading copies) of my second book coming out this fall. It's Tortoise and Hare's Amazing Race by Marianne Berkes, a retired teacher and librarian, now a full time children's book author and presenter. This is our third picture book together and we are working away on our fourth to come out spring 2016.

Arbordale Publishing is the publisher and they specialize in fun stories that build on science, nature and math skills. Tortoise and Hare is a retelling of the classic story with a math twist. Fractions and distance measurements mark progress for Henry Hare and Tess Tortoise along the way. 

How far to the top? 1,760 yards or one mile!
No Henry, you really don't have time to play, but you never did listen to me...
5,280 feet is the same as one mile. I already knew that because Denver is the Mile Hi City.
Click on the images for a larger view. And as always, thanks for taking a look!

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13. #pb10for10 - Books to Begin My Semester

I've been working these last few weeks on preparing my syllabi for fall classes. Here are the books I'll be sharing the first week of the semester with my preservice teachers in my math and science classes.

Science
During the first week we explore the nature of science and the work of scientists.
What is Science?, written by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa

What is a Scientist?, written by Barbara Lehn with photographs by Carol Krauss

Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs!, written by Kathleen Kudlinski and illustrated by S.D. Schindler

11 Experiments That Failed, written by Jenny Offill and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

Lives of the Scientists: Experiments, Explosions (and What the Neighbors Thought), written by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt 



Math
During the first week we discuss how math is used in our daily lives and we jump right in and solve problems. 
Math Curse, written by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith

Missing Math: A Number Mystery, written and illustrated by Loreen Leedy

  
Marvelous Math: A Book of Poems, selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Karen Barbour

 
Edgar Allan Poe's Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems, written by J. Patrick Lewis and illustrated by Michael Slack

The Grapes of Math, written by Greg Tan and illustrated by Harry Briggs

You can check out the other folks participating at the Picture Book 10 for 10 community.

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14. Seeing the Math: Visual Learning Strategies for Mathematical Concepts

Are your kids having trouble understanding a new math concept? Could they use a brush up on what they learned last year? Are they (and are you) ready to have some fun with math?

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15. Math Monday: Well Played


I have been reading lots of math professional books as we've implemented Math Workshop in our district.  This summer, I read Well Played:  Building Mathematical Thinking Through Number Games and Puzzles, Grades 3-5. This was a perfect read for me this summer as we move forward with Math Workshop.  I love that Stenhouse provides such an amazing online preview on their site. I was able to dig in and know that I wanted to own a copy of this book. I know it is one I will revisit throughout the school year.

The book is more than just a set of games.  As Kassia Omohundro Wedekind states in her Foreword,
"This is a book about math games and puzzles, but it is also a book about building communities of mathematicians who work together to problem solve, talk about math and figure things out."

The book begins with thoughtful chapters around the use of games in the math classroom. Early on in the book, the authors state, "...many students experience games or puzzles as fun activities or time fillers, but do not consider them as essential to their learning or as an important part of a lesson for which they are accountable."  The authors go on to show us how to make games a more critical piece of our workshop and to help students have ownership of the games, their goals and the conversations they have while playing.

There is a great section about discussions and the authors give lots of practical tips for teaching kids to have productive conversations while playing game.  There are so many examples of these conversations, questions that push thinking and ways to differentiate throughout the book.

Much of the book is organized in chapters by math concept and there are many games that support kids across levels and operations. The authors give great games and give great variations of several of the games.  The games focus on engagement and problem solving and give kids ways to use math vocabulary throughout.

The games throughout the book are introduced in a way that you can really visualize how they might look in your classroom. Directions and materials are given as well as an example of how one teacher introduced the game in a real classroom.  (The appendix is large and provides blackline masters for all of the games, directions, etc.)    The game pages include Tips, What to Look For when observing kids play the game, Exit Card ideas and Extension of ways to change up the game.

An amazing resource for intermediate math teachers!


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16. Poetry Friday - Math Storytelling Day and Infinity

Today is Math Storytelling Day. In honor of this auspicious event, I'm sharing a video, a book, and some related poems.

A wonderful book to accompany this video is The Cat In Numberland, written by Ivar Ekeland and illustrated by John O'Brien. David Hilbert, a mathematician interested in how infinity works and different sizes of infinities, first made up the basic story (see video above). In this version of the story, Mr. and Mrs. Hilbert run a hotel called the Hotel Infinity. That cat who lives there becomes confused when the Hilberts are able to find room for new guests, even when the hotel is full.  
To learn more about the book, see this comprehensive review from the American Mathematical Society.

Let's wrap this up today with a few poems about infinity.

Infinity
by William Blake

To see the world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower;
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.


Infinity
by Jacob Bernoulli (a 17th century mathematician)

Even as the finite encloses an infinite series
And in the unlimited limits appear,
So the soul of immensity dwells in minutia
And in narrowest limits no limit in here.
What joy to discern the minute in infinity!
The vast to perceive in the small, what divinity!


Revelation At Midnight
by Piet Hein (a Danish mathematician known for writing gruks)

Infinity's taken
by everyone
as a figure-of-eight
written sideways on.
But all of a sudden
I now comprehend
that eight is infinity
standing on end.


That's it for me on this Friday. I do hope you'll take some time to check out all things poetry being shared and collected today by Janet Wong over at Poetry for Children. Happy poetry Friday friends! 

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17. Math Storytelling Day and Doubling

Over at Bookish Ways today you'll find a post describing some books on math and puzzling in honor of Math Storytelling Day. After reviewing the entry once it posted, I realized I was missing an important set of stories. 

Have you seen or heard this old folktale?
This problem is one of the earliest mentions of Chess in puzzles. It was first suggested by the Arabic mathematician Ibn Kallikan who, in 1256, posed the problem of the grains of wheat, 1 on the first square of the chess board, 2 on the second, 4 on the third, 8 on the fourth etc. There are several children's books that examine this concept of doubling.
One Grain of Rice, written and illustrated by Demi

written by David Birch and illustrated by Devis Grebu

written by David Barry and illustrated by Donna Perrone

A Grain of Rice, written by Helena Clare Pittman

You can see the problem written out with all the math at The Legend of the Chessboard. At the Math Forum page entitled A Fable you can learn the distance all those grains of rice stretched end-to-end would extend. And for one final story, check out Robert Krulwich's post entitled That Old Rice-Grains-On-The-Chessboard Con, With a New Twist.

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18. From number theory to e-commerce

The American Mathematical Society held on October 1903 its regular meeting in New York City. The program announced a talk by Frank Nelson Cole (1861-1921), with the unpretending title of 'On the factorization of large numbers'. In due course, Cole approached the board and started to multiply the number 2 by itself, step after step and without saying a word, sixty seven times.

The post From number theory to e-commerce appeared first on OUPblog.

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19. Math Monday: Estimate 180

Last week, my colleague Kami Wenning and our math coach, McKenzie Zimmerman conducted an informal morning PD session on the site Estimate 180. Kami has been using the site with her 3rd graders and the conversations around it have been astounding so they wanted to share the resource.



Estimate 180 is a website created by Andrew Stadel (@mr_stadel). According to his website, he is a middle school math teacher and coach. He began the site in October 2012 with estimating activities he uses with his students each day of the school year. 

After the PD, McKenzie and I talked about how I could use this site She facilitated the class while I transcribed and listened to her language with students.  She went through the 4 day Lego Estimations and I watched from the back of the room to learn what I could about how best to use this resource and to listen to and record my students' thinking.  The goals for the lesson were from the math practice--explaining your mathematical reasoning and understanding someone else's math reasoning. So that was the focus of the talk over the four days.


The conversations across days went so far beyond the typical estimation activities I've seen. The way that the site is built, the learning builds from one day to another and kids have information to build from.  The talk around numbers was incredible and the engagement was high.  Knowing the standards so well, McKenzie was able to take advantage of the last day's conversation to create a number sentence with a number to solve for.   I am finding that oral language and conversation is such a huge part of math learning and Estimate 180 definitely supports this.




There are so many amazing things about the Estimate 180 site. There is a huge variety on the site. So many math concepts are covered in the over 200 estimation activities on the site. In a few weeks, I am going to use a series of lessons designed around estimating height and I am looking at another that estimates the amount of money in coins.  You can browse the site or search estimations based on math topic.  I also love that these are multi-day activities that are built to help kids think across time and to use understandings from one day to solve the next day's challenge.

Mr. Stadel must think about estimation all day every day because so many of these estimations come from real, daily life and I think kids will start seeing estimation opportunities everywhere after a few weeks of these.

I loved this site so much that I just had to share. I am excited to jump into another estimation with my kids next week (Cheeseball Estimations) and see where the conversations go!




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20. Secret Coders Book 1: Get With the Program! by Gene Luen Yang & Mike Holmes, 88 pp, RL 4


Binary code. Computer programming. New town and new school. Gene Luen Yang, graphic novelist extraordinaire, is great storyteller, whatever subject he focuses on. Yang moves with ease from literary historical fiction like Boxers & Saints, to superheroes, like The Shadow Hero, Avatar, the Last Airbender and Superman, and on to everyday life, like Level Up, American Born Chinese, and The Eternal Smile. As a former high school computer science teacher, who made comics at night, Yang is a big supporter of teacher kids to code at an early age and his newest graphic novel seriesSecret Coders: Get With the Program!, created with Mike Holmes, bringing what Yang calls a "Saturday morning energy" to it, does just that.is designed to do just that. There is even an excellent website for the book filled with great instructional videos, coding activities, including a downloadable file that lets you create Little Guy, the robot from the book, on a 3D printer!

Stately Academy, the setting of Secret Coders: Get With the Program!, is a bit like Hogwarts. As Yang says, it's a secret school that "teaches coding instead of magic." And, as Yang points out, coding is even better than magic because you can do it at home! Hopper is new to the slightly creepy, sort of mysterious Stately Academy. She gets pudding chucked at her head, makes a fool of herself in Mandarin class and at lunch her earrings, shaped like the number 7, trigger a startling reaction in a weird bird.

Seeing this oddity, Eni, son of a software engineer, comes over to investigate. Besides having some mad skills on the basketball court, Eni has a solid grasp of binary numbers and explains the controlling binary code to Hopper with a cool demonstration using pennies and chalk. Once Hopper gets it, the two experiment on the bird and begin to understand why the number 9 appears all over the school. There seem to be secret codes everywhere at Stately Academy and as Eni, his buddy Josh and Hopper break them they travel deeper and deeper into the secrets of the school and the crusty old janitor, Mr. Bee.




Some secrets are exposed and even more are unearthed by the end of Secret Coders: Get With the Program!, which has a bit of a cliffhanger. Book 1 is a great set up, focusing on making sure that readers understand binary code (over more character  and plot development) before moving on to the next book in the series, Secret Coders: Paths & Portals, which comes out in January of 2016!



Source: Review Copy

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21. Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark, illustrated by April Chu, 40pp, RL 3



It's pretty cool that, on the 200th anniversary of her birth, there have been three books (fiction, graphic novel and narrative non-fiction) published featuring Ada Lovelace. Ada Byron Lovelace is the person considered by many to be the inventor of computer programming and also the daughter of notorious romantic poet Lord Byron. She's also a wonderful role model in this age of GlodieBlox, STEM and Rosie Revere, Engineer. Happily, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark and illustrated by April Chu, the third book featuring Ada Lovelace to be published this year, is a biographical picture book that is accessible to readers of all ages. Chu's illustrations are filled with life and movement (and Ada's loyal cat by her side for most of the book) and call to mind the work of Brian Selznick. Add to this the fact that Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine is published by Creston Books, a relatively new publisher dedicated to putting out a broad range of quality picture books - that are printed in the United States - and you have an absolutely gorgeous book in your hands!



It seems perfectly fitting that a picture book biography of Ada Byron Lovelace be written by a teacher of computer science and illustrated by an architect. Wallmark focuses on aspects of Lovelace's life in a way that will appeal to young readers, beginning with the fact that, while her father was a famous writer, and "Ada was born into a world of poetry," it was "numbers, not words, that captured her imagination." She goes on to share that Ada's mother, who had a passion for geometry, was called the "Princess of Parallelograms." As a child, Ada was fascinated by birds and flight and, through a series of equations and observations, she builds a set of real wings.


Wallmark goes on to write of the case of measles that temporarily blinded and paralyzed Ada. Her full recovery took three years, but her mother was always at her bedside, keeping her mind sharp with mathematical problems. When Ada was ready, her mother hired Mary Fairfax Sommerville, the well known scientist and mathematician who, as Wallmark writes, "was living proof that girls could do math and do it well." It's hard to imagine a time in recent history when this needed to be proved and yet, 200 years later, there is still such a noticeable dearth of women in the sciences that newspaper articles are written about it, organizations and scholarships are created to reverse this and special "girl versions" of engineering toys are created to address this.


Through Sommerville, Ada makes new connections in the world of mathematics and science, including Charles Babbage, the man who originated the concept of the programmable computer. It was Ada Lovelace who, after poring over Babbage's thirty lab books filled with notes about his Analytical Engine, discovered that, without mathematical instructions, the machine would be a "useless pile of metal parts." Babbage never finished his Analytical Machine, so Lovelace never got to see her program run. But, as the final page of Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine tells us, more than "one hundred years beofre the invention of the modern computer, Ada had glimpsed the future and created a new profession - computer programming." What's more, Ada was not lost to the pages of history. There is a computer language named after her and it is used, most appropriately, to guide modern flying machines. I hope that Wallmark and Chu have another book about Lovelace in the works, one that will delve a bit deeper into the Analytical Machine itself, and possibly more about what Lovelace's adult life was like living as a lady mathematician in London in the 1850s.

Other books about Ada, or with Ada as an (anachronistic) character...



The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency: The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stratford, illustrated by Kelly Murphy



The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua 
(review to come!)

Source: Review Copy

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22. Math Monday: Padlet

I have been thinking about how to better share our math thinking as part of our math workshop.  I have played around a bit with Padlet for lots of things. Last week, padlet helped raise our level of share a bit. Kids are used to sharing and responding to math thinking of their classmates.  We use lots of tools to do this but this week, we build a padlet as kids worked.  Finished representations went up on the padlet as kids finished. This is the problem we solved.

Jeffrey buys 5 boxes of oranges. There are 10 oranges in each box.  There are 12 rotten oranges.  How many oranges are there that are not rotten?


We have been playing with a variety of tools to share our math learning. So, some students used Google Draw. Others used Pixie. Some used Explain Everything.

I am thinking about the reflection piece of share with my math coach. I think there can be real power in Padlet as a way for kids to reflect on thinking, analyze work and learn new things to try.  The power of this Padlet was in the conversation. Because the Padlet was added to over a 15-20  minute period, kids naturally gathered around the Smartboard noticing things before we formally shared. Then as we shared, there was a power of having all of the representations on one board--in a place that we could see them all at once.

Usually, we can Airplay share one at a time or share a student's thinking from their notebook with a document camera.  Padlet allowed us to see patterns in our work. Kids noticed that with division, most kids were drawing pictures and wondered why that was.  Others noticed different number sentences across work. We could get a close up of one to analyze if we wanted to or we could look at the patterns we saw in our work as a whole.

I am going to work with my coach to build on this and to really think about how to raise the level of the share piece of Math Workshop. Lots of possibilities!



It's Math Monday! Join Mandy at Enjoy and Embrace Learning for the Math Monday link up!


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23. Fusenews: Starring the World’s Creepiest Cat in the Hat!

  • Here in New York we’re getting very excited.  The 90-Second Film Festival is coming!!  And soon too!  Here’s a PW interview with James Kennedy about the festival and for those of you in the NYC area you can see it at NYPL on Saturday, March 7th at 3:00 p.m. In fact, now that I think about it, you could begin your day at NYPL at 2:00 p.m. at my Children’s Literary Salon Blurred Lines?: Accuracy and Illustration in Nonfiction.  We’ll be hosting Mara Rockliff (author), Brian Floca (author/illustrator), Nicole Raymond (editor), and Sophie Blackall (illustrator/author) as they discuss the responsibility of an illustrator when working on a piece of historical nonfiction for kids and whether or not words garner closer scrutiny than pictures.  Should be a fabulous day.
  • We all know on some level that when a book is adapted into a movie the likelihood of the strong female characters staying strong is negligible.  There are always exceptions to the rule, but by and large it’s depressing not to be more shocked by the recent Cracked piece 6 Insulting Movie Adaptations of Strong Female Characters.  I was very pleased to see the inclusion of Violet from A Series of Unfortunate Events too.  Folks tend to forget about her.
  • At the beginning of February I had the infinite pleasure of hosting a Children’s Literary Salon at NYPL on Collaborating Couples.  I invited in Ted & Betsy Lewin, Andrea and Brian Pinkney, and Sean Qualls and Selina Alko.  You can read the PW round-up of the talk here, but before we hit the stage I had to ask Sean about this incident that occurred involving his book with Selina, The Case for Loving and W. Kamau Bell’s treatment at Berkeley’s Elmwood Café.  We didn’t touch on it during our talk since it wasn’t pertinent to this particular discussion, but if you haven’t read the article I suggest you give it a look.
  • If I’m going to be honest about it, this perfectly encapsulates what I’ve always personally felt about the Elephant and Piggie books.  This is because growing up I was the child that wanted everyone and everything in the universe to pair up.  Sesame Street fed this desire to a certain degree but the only time Mr. Rogers got close was during the opera episodes.  And don’t even get me STARTED on Reading Rainbow (no sexual tension = no interest for 4-year-old Betsy).  Hence my perverse desire to see Gerald and Piggie become a couple.  I know, I know.  Clearly I need help.
  • Moomins!  Ballet!  Moomins in ballet!  Sorry, do you need more than that?  Thanks to Marci for the link.
  • It’s fun to read this look at the Mary Poppins Hidden Relationships Fan Theory, but I’ve a bone to pick with it.  Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t the book of Mary Poppins make it very clear that yes indeed Mary Poppins WAS Bert’s nanny back in the day?  Or am I just making stuff up?  I thought this was cannon.  That other stuff about Bert’s relationships is particularly peculiar as well.

Perhaps you feel, as I do, that you’ve read every possible Harry Potter related list out there devised by the human brain.  Still and all, while I had seen a bunch of these, there are still some lovely surprises in the BuzzFeed list 21 Times “Harry Potter” Was the Cleverest Book Series Ever.

Speaking of Harry Potter and BuzzFeed, new term alert: Racebent.  Didn’t know it, but this piece has actually convinced me that it is entirely possible that Hermione Granger isn’t the white-skinned schoolgirl she’s often considered to be.  Recall if you will that it was only ever made explicit that Dean Thomas had dark skin when the Harry Potter books were brought over to America (a fact that is not usually mentioned in these stories).

  • Oh, what the heck.  May as well get as Harry Potterish as possible today.  Look!  Cover animations!
  • For years I’ve yearned to go to TLA (the meeting of the Texas Library Association).  State library meetings are always fun, but Texas takes their own to another level.  So far I haven’t had an excuse, but I was reminded of this desire recently when I read the rather delightful piece on how an abandoned Texan Walmart got turned into the ultimate public library.  McAllen?  You’re good people.
  • Let It Be Known: That every author and illustrator out there that makes school visits on a regular basis should take a very close look at Nathan Hale’s School Visit Instructions and replicate PRECISELY what he has done on their own websites.  Obviously you cannot all draw so in terms of visuals he has you beat.  However, this information is perfect and you could certainly write it down in some form yourself.  Let it also be known that his upcoming book about Harriet Tubman, The Underground Abductor, is AMAZING.  Here’s the cover:

  • David Wiesner created an app?  Yep, pretty much.  It’s called Spot and it is now on my To Buy list.
  • Oh!  I don’t know if any of you folks actually know about this.  Were you aware that there is a major children’s book award out there for math-related titles?  Yep, there is.  It’s called the Mathical Award and it’s a project that has come out of a collaboration between The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) and the Children’s Book Council (CBC).  Those of you producing such books should look into it.  Could be very very useful to you.
  • Daily Image:

I’ve been meaning to get back to work on updating my post of the Complete Listing of All Children’s Literature Statues in the United States for a while here.  There are definitely some sections that need work.  However, one image I will not be adding is this statue of what might be the world’s creepiest Cat in the Hat.  Not because I don’t like him (oh, I do, I do) but because it’s on school rather than public property.  That doesn’t mean I can’t share him with you anyway, though.

Many thanks to Paula Wiley for bringing him to my attention.  Wowzah.

 

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24. Eating Your Homework is as Easy as Pi!


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Humdrum or delicious? When students eat their homework, the classroom suddenly turns from tedious to oh-so-tasty. Get ready to serve up some yummy new fun—while discovering and learning about math and science.

Psst, did you remember that Pi Day is March 14? It’s time to divvy up some Variable Pizza Pi. Look up the recipe for this constant crowd-pleaser in Eat Your Math Homework, and get set for variable excitement—quite a lot . . . or mega.


Never mind the constants (the crust and the sauce), here’s your chance to add your own variables: toppings such as pepperoni, green pepper, or pineapple chunks. And we’re not done yet! Measure the circumference and determine the diameter of the pizza. This will help you pinpoint pi, that amazingly endless decimal number that starts 3.1415926 . . . (pi = circumference divided by diameter)

What about in the classroom? How about switching things up a bit with this yummy classroom adaptation? Share circle shaped cookies (Yes, the cookie itself and the icing are the constants). Have students decorate each cookie with variables such as chocolate chips, raisins, or colored marshmallows. Figure out the circumference and diameter of one cookie (Hint: To measure the circumference, use a piece of string. Place the string around the rim of the cookie. Cut or mark the string to match the size of the cookie’s circumference. Straighten this measured string and find its length using a ruler).

When students find the circumference divided by the diameter, it’s easy as pie to calculate pi. Was the answer close to 3.14? Why wasn’t it exact? What else can you find out about pi?


And now here’s another tasty tidbit. Let’s face it, all science lessons are not created equal. Neither are rocks. In fact, there are three basic categories of rocks: metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary. Heat and pressure cause metamorphic rocks to morph, or change form. Igneous rocks form from cooled liquid rock beneath the earth’s surface. And sedimentary, well, think of a lasagna—when layers of sediment press against each other, the layers meld together.

Speaking of lasagna, check out the recipe for Sedimentary Pizza Lasagna from Eat Your Science Homework . . . Yum!


. . . Or whip up some classroom friendly Sedimentary Sandwiches instead. Use 3 or 4 layers of bread (or crackers) and your favorite sandwich fixings to build a rock solid masterpiece. Bite in—and don’t worry about chipping a tooth!

For more on how to turn your classroom into a banquet of learning, please check out Eat Your Science Homework and Eat Your Math Homework from Charlesbridge Publishing.


Your constant math and science pals, 


Ann and Leeza




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25. It’s time to celebrate Π!

3.141592653

pi

Not only is today PI day and the celebration of the ratio used to calculate a circle’s circumference or diameter, this PI Day has a special significance. Set your clocks and experience a moment that only happens every 100 years.

On 3/14/15 at 9:26:53 the country will experience a pi second where the first ten digits of pi line up perfectly with the time. A statistician in Toronto has even calculated the pi instant where all the digits of pi line up exactly with time.

So to commemorate this special event we are making a blackberry pie, and reading Blackberry Banquet!

If you would like to do the same here is a recipe from Allrecipes.com

4 cups of blackberries
½ cup of white sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
9 inch double pie crust (store bought) or recipe
2 tablespoons milk
¼ cup white sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Combine 3 1/2 cups berries with the sugar and flour. Spoon the mixture into an unbaked pie shell. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup berries on top of the sweetened berries, and cover with the top crust. Seal and crimp the edges, and cut vents in the top crust for steam to escape.
  3. Brush the top crust with milk, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

Banquet_187

And read Blackberry Banquet with us today for FREE online!


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