An Unexpected Math Teacher

One of the more challenging aspects of the entire COVID-19 lose your mind at home situation is that parents who never expected to be a teaching assistant in their child’s learning process have had to face the facts that this is now part of our job. My 7th grader is able to do most all of her work without me. No worries there. My 3rd grader, not so much. It is definitely harder for them to focus and to differentiate between home and school. Add to that, some kids do better than others. So I was pleasantly surprised when a book I had been sent to review recently totally helped me on Friday.

3rd grade math means geometry – shapes, angles, perimeter, area, etc. How kids learn it today feels completely different from when I was in school, but who knows, that was a looong time ago. I like math, so it isn’t that I’m afraid of the subject, I just don’t know the right words to say to make my daughter understand it. But live zoom math classes aren’t cutting it for her. Too many people, too hard to follow, too noisy. Friday we wound up giving up on class and I just taught her myself. They are working on perimeter and area using the notion of how many tables do you need for x amount of people and how many would each of those tables hold. We were struggling with perimeter. E knew that it was the space around, like a fence around a house she said. But she struggled with figuring out the solution.

So mom pulled up a review copy of Geometry is as Easy as Pie (Tumblehome; 3/2020; Hardcover $17.95; ISBN: 978-1943431526; Grades 3-6; 40 pages). I found the page on perimeter and we were able to talk about it and make more sense of what I was trying to get to.

© Katie Coppens

I’m more of a formula person, but I knew that I needed the visual representation for it to make sense for my daughter. We also used the page on area. She really enjoyed this book. When I asked what she thought, she responded that “I really liked it. It really helped me understand.” What better recommendation can I get than that?!?

© Katie Coppens

I am sad that I didn’t manage to get a post up on pi day, but here is the thing. When I first saw the book, I wasn’t sure about it. I wasn’t sure who the audience was other than teachers. Totally get it now and think it is awesome! Each item has a section where Coppens questions how that relates to pie and even gives a bunch of recipes. Well, during this stay at home thing, we are all doing a lot more cooking together and this week we are definitely going to try out the “Tessellating Samosa Hand Pie Appetizers.”

This is an incredibly unique way to look at geometry and to get kids engaged. It is intended for 3rd – 6th grade, so it is PERFECT for us at the moment. The book covers a slew of topics including circles, polygons, angles, parallel and perpendicular lines, tessellation, symmetry, area, volume, and more with “scrumptious-looking photos, easy recipes, and a variety of pies to bake or just ogle.” A math book AND a cook book. Yes please!


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