Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Positive and Negative Numbers, Oh My!

Positive & Negative Numbers, Oh My! (Got Math!) provides a balance of traditional number line approaches to teaching positive and negative numbers and some creative real world applications. The book also looks at less than and great than, and has a brief review of coordinate graphing with positive and negative numbers.

The book emphasizes math vocabulary for numbers, which I always am looking for in math picture books. When kids learn the words in more friendly environments, they tend to remember them and they lose the fear of math words. This book defines the words in a clear manner and provides number lines to help illustrate the concepts and vocabulary being defined. In between the math vocabulary and definitions, real world examples are used to reinforce the ideas being presented.

Concepts in this book include natural numbers, whole numbers, rational numbers, integers (positive and negative), absolute value, inequality symbols, and four quadrant graphing. The words are defined and then built on to explain additional concepts in the book.

Overall I was impressed by the amount of information covered in this book and the efforts to make it accessible. I was frustrated in one instance in the discussion of the opposite absolute value. Up until this point they very clearly clarified not just what to do, but why you do something in math. This has always been a problem for me in math. If I didn't understand something I could make up my own rules thinking I'd remembered correctly. This was the only explanation I found in the book where they just said, add a negative sign and you're good without any explanation of why it works. If they weren't going to explain, I'd rather have had them left it out because everything else is explained pretty well for the reader to follow along not just on how, but the why.

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