We read a LOT of books and of course I try to sneak in math and science whenever I can. Here are some of the math extras that we’ve enjoyed over the years.
Sir Cumference and the First Round Table by Cindy Neuschwander and Wayne Geehan. There is actually a whole series of books about Sir Cumference that teach kids geometry in a King Arthur story. They’re cute stories and help kids remember the geometry. My boys enjoyed these and we own 3 of them and borrowed others from the library. The book description says ages 8-12.
The Number Devil, a Mathematical Adventure by Hans Magnus Enzensberger is another fun math read. Its a lot bigger, looks like a regular paperback book but the font is large and there are pictures on almost every page. This is a fun book about a boy who dreams about the Number Devil, who teaches him new tricks with numbers every night. This was a popular book in our homeschool group a few years ago. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m not sure my younger son ever read it, he was too young at the time… time to put it in his pile of books! Book description says ages 10 and up.
Its Alive! by Asa Kleiman & David Washington with Mary Ford Washington. I have an older version of this book, but its quite fun. Its kind of like Horrible History for math, the problems are gross and disgusting most of the time, perfect for young kids. For example, one problem states that 2/3 of skin scales are contaminated with large colonies of bacteria. If a cook scratches so many skin scales into the soup, how many large colonies of bacteria are now in the soup? ewwwww! There was also one about how fast the mite living on your eye lash can walk, how long does it take it to walk across your eye lid. Not really the kind of thing you want to think about, but the boys enjoyed these problems. Grades 4-8.
Mathemagic – Childcraft. This book is the one that taught ME math. I had a set of Childcraft books when I was a kid and I read them over and over, but this one was my favorite. So many cool tricks. When I started homeschooling I bought a set of Childcraft books off eBay in hopes my kids would enjoy them as I did. Unfortunately they never really hit it off, but I think its a great book. You can probably find a copy in your library’s reference section. I’d say its useful for any kid who can read.
The Usborne Illustrated Dictionary of Math is a handy book for looking up math terms, formulas for area and volume, names of geometry shapes, etc. I’ve gone to it quite a few times when my kids have had questions pop up. Its not a regular dictionary, its broken up into sections; Number, Shapes, Algebra, etc. and full of diagrams and pictures. I’ve found it very useful, especially as we get into high school math.
The Book of Perfectly Perilous Math: 24 Death Defying Challenges for Young Mathematicians by Sean Connolly. This is another math book full of fun problems. The first problem is the pit and the pendulum. You’re given how long it takes the pendulum with blade to swish across your body, coming down an inch with each swish, and have to figure out if the rat is going to gnaw through the rope before the blade gets to you. These aren’t simple plug and chug problems and detailed solutions are given for each one. There are pages in the book for kids to work on the problems as well, though I find working on scrap paper easier since the book doesn’t open flat very easily. Grades 5-8.
25 Super Cool Math Board Games: Easy-to-Play Reproducible Games that Teach Essential Math Skills, Grades 3-6 by Lorraine Hopping Egan. The kids got this book as a gift from a grandparent and it was a big hit. I actually lent this book out so I don’t have it with me but I know we used quite a few of the games. Grades 3-6.
The last thing I want to recommend is a series of British videos on Youtube called Maths Mansion. Here’s a website that gives you an idea of the topics in each video. Each video is only about 10 minutes long and its about these kids stuck in the maths mansion and they have to answer questions in a game show type setting, to earn points to escape the mansion. The host is a ‘bad’ guy who gives them a hard time but also explains how to do the maths (in the UK, the subject of math is called maths). Each show has lessons, a music video, a goofy section with the good maths guy who uses stuffed animals and puppets and of course the game show section. At the end of each video is a problem for you to try. My kids and I really liked these videos and they are FREE… and did I mention there are over 40 of them! Here’s a Maths Mansion playlist on Youtube. I highly recommend these, I even learned a few tricks and different ways of solving some problems. Here’s the first one: