Animals on Board (Adding): Wow! It's a caravan of trucks, each carrying an exotic load. There are three tigers on the first truck, followed by two more on the next truck. How many tigers in all? Then come trucks filled with different numbers of swans, frogs, horses and even pandas. How many are there of each animal? And where are they headed? And what's hidden under the tarp of driver Jill's extra-wide truck? Simple addition equations help children to understand basic arithmetical operations. Illustrated by R.W. Alley.
The Best Vacation Ever (Collecting Data): The family needs a break. Everybody's always so busy. But where should they go? A very smart and practical little girl asks some key questions and charts the answers. Mom wants to go some place quiet and cool. Grandma and brother Charlie are looking for fun. And everybody but Dad wants Fluffer the cat to come along. Is there any place that'll make everyone happy? Learning to organize and interpret data develops the ability for critical thought. Illustrated by Bernard Westcott.
Bigger, Better, Best! (Area): Jill can't believe it. Her older sister Jenny and older brother Jeff are at it again, arguing over who's got the better backpack and better book. But their biggest battle is over who has the best bedroom in their new house. To measure the area of their windows, they use sheets of paper. Yet even though their windows are different shapes, they both need the same number of sheets—12—to cover the glass. Their windows have the exact same area! Sheets of newsprint come in handy for measuring floor space. Meanwhile, Jill's just happy that her little room is way down the hall. Understanding that area is a two-dimensional measurement of space is a basic concept of geometry. Illustrated by Marsha Winborn.
Captain Invincible and the Space Shapes (Three-dimensional Shapes): Sam—a.k.a. "Captain Invincible"—and his trusty space pooch Comet have their hands and paws full trying to navigate through the universe. Meteor showers, flying saucers, and a "galactic beast" are some of the dangers lurking among the stars. They have to push the right button—the cube, pyramid, cylinder, cone, sphere or rectangular prism—in order to land safely in…Sam's bedroom! Recognizing and classifying three-dimensional shapes is an important part of geometry. Illustrated by Rémy Simard.
Coyotes All Around (Rounding): It's another fine desert day for the counting coyotes: Clumsy, Clever, Cool, Careful and Little One. Clumsy thinks there must be hundreds of roadrunner birds, but Clever thinks that's a little high and encourages the other four coyotes to take a count. When it comes time to add up the totals, Clever says she can do in it her head by using rounding. Instead of adding 21+12+17+8, Clever rounds the numbers and adds 20+10+20+10, estimating the total will be 60. The actual total is 58, so she's pretty close. The coyotes then try counting lizards and grasshoppers. Clever's fast estimating amazes her friends. The story is also filled with lots of coyote factoids. Rounding and then computing are necessary skills for making sound estimates. Illustrated by Steve Björkman.
Elevator Magic (Subtracting): Who knew that riding an elevator could be such an adventure? Ben meets his Mom at her office on the 10th floor, then together they make several stops on their way down. They find cows and chickens at "Farm Bank and Trust" on the 8th floor, and a traffic jam at "Speedway Delivery" three floors below. As for the "Hard Rock Candy Store," you've got to see it to believe it. Learning how to subtract using a simplified "number line" helps children understand the concept of subtraction. Illustrated by G. Brian Karas.
A Fair Bear Share (Regrouping): Mama Bear wants to make her special Blue Ribbon Blueberry Pie, but it's up to her four cubs to gather enough nuts, berries and seeds. Three of the cubs go at it with gusto, adding up their treasures by arranging them in groups of tens and ones. But they don't have enough! Will their little sister—the one who spent the afternoon skipping, running and turning cartwheels—come through and save the day? Learning how to regroup numbers is essential for solving more advanced addition problems. Illustrated by John Speirs.
Get Up and Go! (Time Lines): The puppy is worried. Will his Little Girl be ready to go to school on time? First there's a five-minute snuggle with Teddy. Then another three minutes spent washing up, and eight minutes for breakfast. And there's still so much more to do! Pup creates a colorful timeline to help keep track. Constructing and interpreting timelines helps children determine elapsed time using such skills as adding on to find sums. Illustrated by Diane Greenseid.
Give Me Half! (Understanding Halves): When a boy tries to eat a whole pizza without sharing half with his sister, it's not pretty. Of course, she isn't too keen on sharing her juice or cupcakes. With a little adult prodding, however, they soon learn the benefits of sharing and split everything in half, including clean-up chores. Recognizing that half means one of two equal parts leads to understanding fractions. Illustrated by G. Brian Karas.
Let's Fly a Kite (Symmetry): It's a good thing that Hannah and Bob have such a nice, smart babysitter. When Laura suggests that they make a kite to fly at the beach, the kids immediately start arguing over whether it should be decorated with a lightning bolt or a whale. Laura draws a line down the length of the kite, so they each have exactly the same size and shape to draw on. Later, the children divide the back seat of the car, the beach blanket, and even their sandwiches into two equal parts. Symmetry is a geometric property that helps children classify shapes. Illustrated by Brian Floca.
Mall Mania (Addition Strategies): It's "Mall Mania" Day at the Parkside Mall. To celebrate, the 100th shopper to enter the mall will win all kinds of cool gifts. Jonathon, Nicole, Gabby and Steven—members of the Wilson Elementary chess club—are adding up the number of shoppers to come through each of the mall's four doors, sharing the data via walkie-talkie. Club captain Heather and advisor Mr. Grant are coordinating efforts. "How many shoppers so far?" asks Heather. Nicole counts 7, Gabby 4, Steve 3, and Jonathon 2: That's 7 + 4 + 3 + 2. Nicole adds the numbers one by one: first, 7 + 4 = 11; next, 11 + 3 = 14; and then, 14 + 2 = 16. Meanwhile, Gabby rearranges the numbers to uses "facts of 10" to make them easier to add: first, 7 + 3 = 10; next, 4 + 2 = 6; and then, 10 + 6 = 16. Both girls come to the same answer, but by using different strategies. Other strategies include grouping identical numbers together for skip-counting, and "doubles plus/minus one" (for example, 3 + 4 is the same as 3 + 3 + 1). Who ends up the lucky 100th shopper? Let's just say it's someone who never expected to be counted at all! Addition strategies are important skills for adding more than two numbers. Illustrated by Renée Adriani.
More or Less (Comparing Numbers): Mr. Shaw, the principal of Bayside School is retiring, so all the students and teachers, and family and friends are having a picnic in his honor. There are lots of game booths, and the most popular is "Let Eddie Guess Your Age!" Eddie, blind-folded and sitting on a chair over a large tub of water, can figure out how old someone is by asking a few key questions: "Is you age less than 10?" "Yes." "More than 7?" "Yes." "It is an even number?" "No." "Then you're 9 years old," says Eddie triumphantly. If Eddie has to ask more then 6 questions, he gets dunked. Find out whether Eddie can swim! Comparing numbers is an important part of the understanding the mathematical concepts of "greater than" and "less than," and for developing skills for making logical guesses. Illustrated by David T. Wenzel.
Pepper's Journal (Calendars): Grandma's cat Snowy is about to have kittens, and Lisa and her little brother Joey will get to keep one. Little Pepper, whose white fur is dotted with black spots, has a very busy first year. Lisa keeps track of the highlights using a calendar. Her journal is also filled with lots of nifty information about cats. Events in people's lives are measured by time, so it is important that children understand the relationships between days, weeks, months, and years. Illustrated by Marsha Winborn.
Probably Pistachio (Probability): Ever have one of those days? First, Jack wakes up late and trips over his dog Pirate. Then Dad makes tuna-fish sandwiches for lunch. Yuck. But Jack remembers that Emma's mom usually gives her pastrami—four out of five days last week. Maybe he can trade. What are the chances that she'll have pastrami today? And what's the probability that Jack's day will improve? Learning to make astute predictions helps children analyze data to make informed decisions. Illustrated by Marsha Winborn.
Racing Around (Perimeter): Mike loves riding his bicycle. This year he wants to ride in the annual 15-kilometer race around Perimeter Park, just like Justin and Marissa and all the other big kids. His practice ride around the athletic field was only 6 km, while the ride around the zoo was just 9 km. It's going to be a tough race. Good thing Bingo the dog is there to cheer him on. Perimeter—the distance around a shape—is an important measurement concept for children to understand. Illustrated by Mike Reed.
Same Old Horse (Making Predictions): Poor Hankie the horse is allergic to hay! And every 20 minutes he sneezes. But that’s only the beginning of his boring predictability, of which pasture-mates Jazz and Majesty waste no time making fun. “Just watch,” says Jazz to Majesty.” Hankie will come out of the barn at exactly ten o’clock.” They know that Hankie’s owner Susan takes him out about an hour after she arrives at the barn, and she arrived at nine o’clock. They also know which week Hankie will wear a blue saddle pad, and when he likes to roll in the grass and take a long cool drink. Hankie’s buddy Spark Plug assures him that predictability isn’t always such a bad thing. Still, Hankie may have a surprise in store for everyone. Making predictions based on the observation of patterns is an important part of logical thinking. ). Illustrated by Steve Björkman.
Spunky Monkeys on Parade (Counting by 2's, 3's, and 4's): The "Monkey Day" parade is a very big deal. The crowd loves to watch the Monkey Cyclists who cycle two by two (2, 4, 6, 8…). They're followed by the Monkey Tumblers, who travel in groups of three (3, 6, 9, 12…). Finally there's the Monkey Band lined up four across (4, 8, 12, 16…). Counting by 2s, 3s and 4s is called skip-counting and is an important step in the development of multiplication skills. Illustrated by Lynne Cravath.
The Sundae Scoop (Combinations): Winnie, the nice lady in charge of the cafeteria, has a stupendous idea for the school picnic: "Let's make sundaes!" Lauren, James, and Emily help out and are amazed by how many different kinds of sundaes you can make with just two ice-cream flavors, two sauces, and two types of toppings. But when supplies run low, the number of combinations changes. Determining how many different combinations can be made from given sets of items is an important first step in understanding probability. Illustrated by Cynthia Jabar.
Super Sand Castle Saturday (Measuring): Juan, Sarah and Laura are building sand castles. But which one's tallest? Juan's is only two shovels high, while Sarah's is three. Laura's moat is one big spoon deep, while Juan's is two little spoons deep. Too bad their shovels and spoons aren't the same size. But "an inch is always an inch," says Larry the Lifeguard, using a tape measure to determine the winners. Children learn that it is helpful to use standard units of measure to make accurate comparisons. Illustrated by Julia Gorton.
Tally O'Malley (Tallying): The O'Malleys are driving to the beach for vacation. Eric, Bridget, and little Nell are getting bored in the back seat, so Mom suggests a Tally game. They decide to count cars on the highway. Each of the kids picks a color—silver for Eric, blue for Bridget, and red, as always, for Nell—while Mom sets the timer. Eric trounces the competition and gets to wear the Shamrock medal. And his sister dubs him "Tally O'Malley!" But will he be able to hang on to the title when they tally t-shirt colors while waiting in line for ice cream, or tally train cars? Tally marks are a useful tool for children to keep track as they count, and for data collection. Grouping tally marks also reinforces counting by fives. Illustrated by Cynthia Jabar.
100 Days of Cool (Numbers 1 - 100): When Mrs. Lopez tells her class that they're going to celebrate "100 Days of School," Maggie hears "100 of Days of Cool" instead. Mrs. Lopez thinks that's a great idea, too. So for the next 100 days, Maggie, along with her buddies Nathan, Yoshi, and Scott, come up with 100 different ways to be cool. They wear funny glasses, fancy socks, decorate their bikes, even dress up in cloths from the wacky 1970s. A number line is used to keep track of their progress. Understanding the concept of 100 is a benchmark for children as they become familiar with percentages and place value. Illustrated by John Bendall-Brunello.
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