Unusual Math for little kids: workbook review

Katie has really been enjoying doing exercises from the  MouseMatics workbooks by Jane Kats (including the exercise I discussed in my previous post).

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The activities in this book are little logic puzzles, of a type that I haven’t seen in other workbooks.  They vary greatly both by difficulty and by the type of reasoning that is needed to solve them: visual-geometric, arithmetic, algorithmic, etc.  However, they generally don’t require knowledge of specific math concepts, except for very basic ones.

Here is an example of a visual exercise that I was very impressed with.  You are given a shape made out of small squares, triangles, or other identical polygons, and you have to split them into two identical parts (the exercise is called: split the chocolate evenly between twins).  It sounds fairly simple, but many of them were quite tricky and not obvious how to do at first glance.

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Katie solved a few of the easier ones on her own, then I had to help her with a couple of the harder ones.  Once she got the hang of it though, she was able to solve the rest on her own again.  Twice I almost stopped her because I thought she was doing it incorrectly, only to realize that she found a different solution from the one I was seeing!

A few final thoughts.  At first I didn’t really appreciate the exercises that were really easy for Katie, but then I noticed that they were actually quite fun for her (many of them involved coloring, and that certainly helped).  Also, I realized that it is actually a really good thing that the activities varied in difficulty because the easier ones gave her confidence, as well as a break from thinking too hard.  Finally, this book is in Russian, but for most of the exercises the directions aren’t actually necessary, as there is always a worked out sample that is easy to understand.


About aofradkin

I enjoy thinking about presenting mathematical concepts to young children in exciting and engaging ways.
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7 Responses to Unusual Math for little kids: workbook review

  1. Daniel says:

    Do you know if I can find an English translation of these books? Thank you!


  2. aofradkin says:

    Unfortunately I don’t think that there is one yet. All of the exercises have an example from which it is pretty clear what needs to be done. However, I can certainly understand the desire to want to understand the exact directions :-).


  3. Daniel says:

    But, in your opinion, the book can be helpful – in most cases – even if we don’t undertand the text? In that case, I’ll order the book. I’m sorry for my rusty English :-)), but I’m a Spanish-native speaker. Thanks a lot for your blog, always interesting and insightful


  4. Daniel says:

    Thank you so much!


  5. Daniel says:

    I just got the book! Very interesting and in most cases, the examples are quite clear. Thanks!


  6. aofradkin says:

    Great! I’m glad you like it.


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