Tuesday, June 28, 2011

You Can Count on Monsters

You Can Count on Monsters

You Can Count on Monsters
by Richard Evan Schwartz
published by A.K. Peters, 2010
review copy provided by the publisher

I love teaching math, so excuse me for getting excited about a book that has fun with prime and composite numbers, and prime factorization!

Mathematician Richard Evans Schwartz has created a monster for each of the numbers from 1-100. The prime number monsters are what make up the composite number monsters, in the same way that each composite number is made by multiplying prime factors. The monster for the prime number 2 has two blue and pink google eyes. The monster for the prime number 3 is a red triangle with a big yellow smile. The monster for the prime number 5 is a bright gold star with green google eyes. The monster for the composite number 30 is made of the prime numbers 2, 3, and 5 because those are the prime factors of 30 -- 2x3=6 and 6x5=30, so 2x3x5=30. In the 30 monster you can find the bright gold star, a blue google eye and a big red triangle.

This will be a great book to preview with kids to show them how it works, and then turn them loose with it to see what they can find.

Stanford mathematician Keith Devlin talked to NPR's Weekend Edition host Scott Simon about You Can Count on Numbers. (Listen here.) He says that mathematicians are different from regular folk because to them, numbers have personality, structures and relationships. The brilliance of Schwartz's book is that he makes those ways of thinking and seeing come to life for anyone who studies the pages of YOU CAN COUNT ON MONSTERS!

At Richard Evans Schwartz's website, you can see what some of the monsters look like.

Go look! What do YOU notice?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the suggestion - I just reserved a copy at our local library. I would be honored if you popped by for a visit to see how I have beautifully balanced media from the library to enrich our home, would love to know your thoughts. xoxo michele
    http://www.thegreatread.blogspot.com/

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