Learning math through the arts… Moby Snoodles approves! So I was happy to review two books from Marcia Daft’s Moving Through Math project. (The other is Clap, Drum, and Shake It!) They are read-aloud books for kids under five and their grown-ups. Both books are illustrated in a distinctive, memorable manner that reminded me of early Japanese watercolors. Of math education aspects, I found notes to parents to be most distinctive and memorable. After strong books like these, you can graduate from “What?” (what entities and actions were in the book) – to “So what?” (your new understanding of the world)!
• Children in the book look and dress like they come from all different continents, without any cliches. Kudos to the artists on this tasteful presentation!
• One-to-one correspondence is not challenging as an idea: babies are born understanding it. However, the reliable implementation is hard for young kids. Gross motor movements will definitely help them to count more reliably.
• The descriptions of movements are artistic. There are evocative metaphors, such as “count one leafy spin,” and emotions, such as “two happy hops,” and details that go with the story, such as “nine sharp tugs to create a bouquet” when the kid picks wildflowers. Kids love that rich stuff – and relate to math through it!