Last week, I shared a few math resources we discovered at the library. However, most of those were for elementary grades. Today, I wanted to share a few math resources we like for the upper elementary and middle school years.
The first is called The Usborne Illustrated Dictionary of Math, by Tori Large. It reminds me of an encyclopedia style resource. There are four main sections, including one called Numbers and another for Algebra. Each of these four sections are divided into subsections. For instance the section on Algebra has subsections like Equations, Inequalities, and Functions. Each of these topics is thoroughly explained with examples. The book also includes a glossary of money terms and a chart explaining math symbols.
Another book for the middle school years is Why Pi? How Math Applies to Everyday Life, by Johnny Ball. This book is divided into three sections: The Ancient World, The Age of Discovery, and Modern Measuring. Each section includes information that would have been available or discovered during that time period. The information is presented with interesting text, pictures, and cartoon like illustrations. With sections on pyramid building, mathematics from the Ancient Greeks, and astronomers, the chronological format of the book lends itself well to anyone wanting to add another dimension to their history studies. Simply select the section corresponding to the time period you are currently studying.
Finally, for upper elementary and middle school math, we still use some of our math manipulatives, just not in the same ways as younger learners. When I introduce the children to equations with unknown variables, I pull out the balance and the colored squares. Each number has a corresponding color square and we 'discover' the unknown number as we balance out the equation. A similar method is used to help the student learn to always keep the equation balanced as they solve for the unknown number.