I have been getting quite a few education related books lately for review. This is good because, well, I'm a teacher. Hope a few others find it useful too!
by, Marilynn L. Rapp Buxton
June 1, 2011
"Math Bafflers" requires students to use creativity, critical thinking, and logical reasoning to perform a variety of operations and skills that align with state and national math standards. The book covers real-life situations requiring math skills, such as distance, liquid measures, money, time, weight, sequencing, comparison, age, area, and percentages, along with operations such as fractions, exponents, algebra, place value, and number lines. Students will make hypotheses, organize information, draw conclusions, and use syllogistic thinking. Teachers can feel confident that they are providing challenges and reinforcing important skills in a format that students enjoy! "Math Bafflers" builds essential critical thinking, analysis, and problem-solving skills; develops logical thinking in a fun format; uses relevant, real-life mathematical situations; and provides opportunities for differentiation.
My thoughts...Math Bafflers would be a great tool for teachers of grades 3 and up. The book provides math problems that could easily be photocopied or copied to a board for students to solve. It would make a great "starter" for the day to get students into the math gear. The problems use a variety of skills that will reinforce lessons and challenge learners.
Problem solving is a key component to math instruction. These problems challenge the student to evaluate the problem, create a hypothesis, develop a strategy and discover the solution. The problems are designed to align with national and state math standards.
These problems are challenging. In my experience, third graders would find some of these problems extremely difficult. At the third (and maybe even fourth grade) levels, Math Bafflers would be perfect for differentiating for gifted students. Fifth grade (and even into middle school) teachers can use this as practice, as the student's should be proficient in the majority of skills needed. I would use this in my classroom as a "bell ringer". This is an activity that students complete in their math journals. They would be provided with several minutes to complete the problem, then we would discuss the solution together.
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