Monday, July 16, 2012

65 Short Mysteries You Solve With Math!

I was a fan of Two-Minute Mysteries series collecting various time versions as both a student and a teacher. I liked the format of presenting a mystery and giving the reader a chance to figure it out before presenting the solution.

When I saw One Minute Mysteries: 65 Short Mysteries You Solve with Math! I was hoping to find the same format, but with stories that focused on mysteries with a math solution.

I would have to say it is a stretch to call these stories mysteries. These are stories designed to be more engaging than the word problems most students encounter in their math books. The stories provide real world problems students might encounter and demonstrate how the children in the stories use math to solve the problems. There is nothing wrong with that format. However, it is misleading to call these stories mysteries. It would be more honest to market this as a book that demonstrates children solving problems with math in real world situations.

I would have preferred more reader interaction. In the original minute mystery genre, the writers expect the readers to try to solve the problem before giving them the answer. In these stories, the reader is not expected to engage in the story. The characters solve the mystery without expecting the child to think about possible solutions. The answers are all provided as part of the story.

The book does provide children with real life practical examples of math in action. It also could be a good resource for children who struggle with word problems. The problems in this book are more engaging than those found in your average text. Having models of other children approaching these problems in a logical manner might provide children with some insight on how to approach problems presented in his/her own environment. It definitely provides students with models of how to approach word problems they will find in textbooks.
I would love to see a series that does combine mystery with math and science. I think there is a market for it.

The Science book has already arrived at the library for me to review so I plan to look at it. Since this is actually the second book in the series, I expect they are probably very similar.

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