Sunday, June 8, 2008

Living Math Monday: Anno's Mysterious Multiplying Jar

Since we're starting to look at the concept of Living Math in our homeschool, I am going to start posting on Mondays about what we are learning. You can learn more about it here: Living Math

The first book we read together is called Anno’s Mysterious Multiplying Jar by Masaichiro and Mitsumasa Anno. At first, it seems like a simple picture book, with very little text on each page. You start with one island, which has two countries. In each country there are three mountains, and on each mountain are four kingdoms. On and on you go, until you get to nine boxes with ten jars in each box. Now that your mind is boggled, it asks you how many jars there are. Then goes on to explain what “10!” (ten factorial) means, and demonstrates what it looks like, at least as far as possible in a small book. (They are not able to show 10!, even though they use two double-sized pages!)

I am familiar with factorials, but I did not learn about them until I was in 11th grade. I know that many of my classmates never learned it because we learned it in Algebra III, which was an optional class back then. (Maybe it still is.) So, thinking of teaching math on a linear basis, we still have a long way to go (we’re doing simple division) before we “get to” this concept. But here it is explained in a picture book so that a child can understand it!

I think I am grasping the concept of “living math”(just a little bit) after reading this first book. My daughter enjoyed this one also.


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