Sunday, August 21, 2022

Today's read... The Kitchen Pantry Scientist Math for Kids by Rebecca Rapoport

I'm always excited to get my hands on nonfiction for kids, since these are the books my own always head for first. Even I and my siblings did as kids. I mean, stories are great but getting hands on is always fun. This book comes from a series of STEM orientated reads, centered on everything from physics and beyond. I have not read any of the other ones in this series and was curious if math history could really be exciting enough to win over readers with a few activities. 

Ready to see if this book is a winner or not?

The Kitchen Pantry Scientist Series
Fun Math Games and Activities Inspired by Awesome Mathematicians, Past and Present
by Rebecca Rapoport and
Allanna Chung
Quarry Books
Middle Grade Nonfiction
128 pages
ages 6 to 12


Math for Kids, the fourth book of The Kitchen Pantry Scientist series, brings math to life through biography and creative engagement.

Go beyond counting. Solve puzzles, learn a magic trick, and play a ton of games.

This engaging guide offers a series of snapshots of 20+ mathematicians, from ancient history through today, paired with related hands-on projects perfect for a kitchen or a classroom. Each lab tells the story of a mathematician along with some background about the importance of their work, and a description of where it is still being used or reflected in today’s world.

A step-by-step illustrated game or activity paired with each story offers kids an opportunity to engage directly with concepts the mathematicians pursued, or are working on today. Experiments range from very simple projects using materials you probably already have on hand, to more complicated ones that may require a few inexpensive items you can purchase online. Just a few of the incredible people and scientific concepts you’ll explore:

Hypatia (b. ~350–370)
Square Wheels

Florence Nightingale (b. 1820)
Pizza Pie Charts

Emmy Noether (b. 1882)
Fabulous Folding Flexagons

Ron Graham (b. 1935)
Fibbonacci Spiral

Fan Chung (b. 1949)
Corners and Edges and Faces! Oh my!

With this fascinating, hands-on exploration of the history of mathematics, inspire the next generation of great mathematicians.
Dig into even more incredible science history from The Kitchen Pantry Scientist series with: Chemistry for Kids, Biology for KidsPhysics for Kids, and Ecology for Kids.



All sorts of mathematicians (known and lesser known) get their moment in the spotlight, but boredom stays far away thanks to the variety of activities following each presentation.

This books is chucked full of activities, all which pertain to math. Each section starts with the introduction and description of an historic or present day mathematician, their contribution, bio, hobbies, fun facts, and more. On the opposite side of this description is a full-page illustration of the individual, doing something related to one or more of the facts presented about them. This is well-written and stays on the lighter-side of factual, making sure that readers gain more interesting tidbits than only the solid dates and contributions (although these are there, too). Each individual comes across as a real person, and there were more than a few we hadn't heard about before.

Right after this fact page comes an activity, which correlates to the mathematician. Sometimes, it's a paper project, sometimes with beads. A few introduce games, while others are more about exploring fun things. It's a big mix, and each involves objects usually found around the household. Those that aren't are readily available (cheap) at the store. The descriptions are no problem to follow, and the activities are suitable to most readers in the age group. At the end of the activities' descriptions, there are questions or explanations relating the math to life or other thoughts. At the end of the book, any necessary forms or cut-outs are presented. 

I was impressed at how various the activities are, and how each one does relate to the information in some way or the other. It makes the material understandable without becoming dry or boring. There aren't really any calculations or 'hard' math, but rather, this heads into concepts and generalizations, which demonstrate how math fits into every day life. If nothing else, it's fun.

Not only fans of math will enjoy this one, since the activities include a large range of directions, which are, for the most part, easy to do. The information, which is provided, is interesting and fits the age group. Homeschoolers as well as groups and individuals will enjoy this one.

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