It's Field Day at camp. The 12 campers—a kookaburra, an emu, two platypuses, three koalas, four dingoes and Kangaroo—can't wait for the games to start. The group divides into halves, then thirds and finally fourths to make equal-sized teams (6, 4 and 3 each) for the big competitions. But it's each camper for himself in the long jump, which is Kangaroo's personal favorite. Seeing the relationship between division and fractions is an important step in understanding fractions. Illustrated by Kevin O'Malley.
Ask questions throughout the story such as: "How many teams are needed?" "When the group is split so that each team has the same number of campers, how many are on each team?" "What fraction of the total number of campers is that?"
Talk about fractions of groups. Give your child or each student in your class 12 bottle caps or buttons and pretend that each one is a "camper." Have them divide the campers into 2 equal teams and ask what fraction of the group each team is. Try this with 3 and 4 teams.
Divide 24 toothpicks into groups of 8 toothpicks each. How many groups are there? What fraction of the total is each group? What is 1/3 of 24? Use the same 24 toothpicks and try groups of 6 and 4.
In this picture book based on math principles, Kangaroo and his friends divide themselves into teams to compete in Field Day exercises. Readers will easily follow the concept of fractions when the 12 campers divide into 2 teams of 6 for tug-of-war, then 3 teams of 4 for swimming relay race, and 4 teams of 3 for a canoe race. Finally, each camper is on his or her own for the long jump. O'Malley shows eagerness on the smiling faces of Kangaroo and his cheerful Australian buddies. Colorful scenes run across double-page spreads. Fractions are visualized both pictorially and in numerals to explain the concept. An appendix lists other books with the same focus as well as ideas for talking about fractions. An accessible and fun math story.
—Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA
Used with permission from School Library Journal. Copyright Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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