Tuesday, September 02, 2008

New Math Literature

2 years ago, I purchased the book GREAT ESTIMATIONS and LOVED IT! The kids in my 3rd/4th grade class LOVED it! It had the feel of an "I Spy" Book but had so much to teach us about math. I know that books often help kids make sense of math concepts and this is one that can help all of us think differently about estimating. So, yesterday, I was thrilled when Beth at Cover to Cover showed me GREATER ESTIMATIONS-- a second book about estimating!

Bruce Goldstone (who I was happy to learn grew up in Ohio!) is quite the genius. You don't realize it at first, but these books are teaching books. Goldstone takes us through the process of learning to make good estimates. But you are so busy having such fun looking at the amazing photos and trying to make a good estimate, that it almost takes many reads to pick up all of the great things that you can do to make better estimates.

Bruce Goldstone chooses some pretty cool things to photograph and for us to estimate. He chooses a variety because he teaches us the different ways to estimate--clump counting, estimating length, etc. Readers spend time looking at rubber ducks, honeybees, skydivers, dominoes, hairs on a cat, and blades of grass.

Lots of interesting facts as well as humorous talking bubbles fill the pages. The author also includes a note at the end of the book. He talks about the fun of estimating, but also about how helpful it is in everyday life. He shares times when estimation is critical that I hadn't really thought about.

I had just assumed that Goldstone used computers to create these images but, from his author blurb in the back of the books that Beth pointed out to me, it seems that he spends hours and hours setting real things up for photographing! Very cool.

Goldstone has a fun website that includes info about him, his books and more. It also includes a fun game called "Estimatron" that allows you to practice those estimation skills!  If you like the ducks in the book, you'll be happy to see them again (and again) on the site!


  1. I've never heard of Great Estimations, but I shall look for it!

  2. Anonymous7:17 PM

    Wow - this looks like a fantastic book! I'll definitely recommend it to some of the math teachers in our building! Thank you!

  3. Anonymous10:06 PM

    Connecting mathematics to literature opens so many contexts for exploring the mathematics. Here are some great guides for doing so: http://blog.tangentminds.com/2008/09/math-literature.html


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