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Math Potatoes: Mind-Stretching Brain Food
Author: Gregory Tang
Illustrator: Harry Briggs
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Copyright: 2005
ISBN: 0-439-44390-3
Number of Pages: 40
Ohio Standards Alignment: Grades 1–4

Another in a series of mathematically related rhyming books by Greg Tang, these counting riddles involve food and other visual items engagingly illustrated by Harry Briggs. The items to be counted are laid out in patterns that allow the reader to form numerical groupings that make counting larger numbers of objects easier for many students. Solutions are given in the back of the book, but students may come up with other ways to group and count the objects, leading to some lively discussions.  

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How to Use This Book
Highlights and Insights
Related ORC Resources
Ohio Standards

 


How to Use This Book

  • These poems and accompanying illustrations can be used individually, in groups, in a series, or all together to help children look at and think about strategies for counting a large number of objects.
  • The symmetry and the clever riddles embedded in the poems can also help children visualize number groupings and the resulting shortcuts.
  • Children should be encouraged to create their own patterns and groupings of objects.
  • A literacy connection can be encouraged by having children create poems about their groupings.
  • Children can present their riddles to each other or to the class to show a variety of strategies that make sense to individual students.
  • A class book, similar to Math Potatoes, could be compiled from problems and drawings created by the children.

Highlights and Insights

  • This book provides an excellent context for discourse and developing reasoning and number sense skills.
  • Students may need time to become familiar with the format of the book when reading a Greg Tang book for the first time. 
  • Having the mathematical information displayed and presented in multiple ways helps learners who may not get the information in more conventional ways become more mathematically proficient and show what they know and are capable of understanding.

Related ORC Resources

All About Multiplication 2: Exploring Equal Sets
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ORC# 4345
Resource Information
Resource Type: Lessons
Discipline: Mathematics
Grades: Grades 3–4
Professional Commentary: Students listen to the counting story, What Comes in 2's, 3's, & 4's, and then use counters to set up multiple sets of equal size. They fill in a table listing the number of sets, the number of objects in each set, and the total number in all....
Patterns That Grow 2: Patterns on Charts
View Full RecordAdd to My ORC Collection
ORC# 4352
Resource Information
Resource Type: Lessons
Discipline: Mathematics
Grades: Grades 3–5
Professional Commentary: After a quick review of repeating patterns of shapes, students use calculators, an online applet, and a hundred board to explore numerical patterns of multiples of single digit numbers. Internet links, discussion questions, assessment options, and questions for teacher reflection are included....
Learning about Number Relationships and Properties of Numbers Using Calculators and Hundred Boards: Displaying Number Patterns
View Full RecordAdd to My ORC Collection
ORC# 1438
Resource Information
Resource Type: Content Supports -- Activities and rich problems
Discipline: Mathematics
Grades: Grades 1–3
Professional Commentary: This NCTM E-Example features a two-part activity demonstrating how to address number concepts and logical reasoning with virtual manipulatives and calculators. A major learning goal for students in the primary grades is to develop an understanding of properties of, and relationships among, numbers....

Ohio Standards

Number, Number Sense and Operations Standard
    Benchmarks (K-2)
    F. Count, using numerals and ordinal numbers.
    I. Model, represent and explain multiplication as repeated addition, rectangular arrays and skip counting.
    Benchmarks (3-4)
    G. Model and use commutative and associative properties for addition and multiplication.
    Grade Level Indicators (1)
    2. Recognize and generate equivalent forms for the same number using physical models, words and number expressions; e.g., concept of ten is described by "10 blocks", full tens frame, numeral 10, 5 + 5, 15 - 5, one less than 11, my brother's age.
    4. Count forward to 100, count backwards from 100, and count forward or backward starting at any number between 1 and 100.
    Grade Level Indicators (2)
    7. Model, represent and explain multiplication as repeated addition, rectangular arrays and skip counting.
    Grade Level Indicators (3)
    8. Model, represent and explain multiplication; e.g., repeated addition, skip counting, rectangular arrays and area model. For example: a. Use conventional mathematical symbols to write equations for word problems involving multiplication. b. Understand that, unlike addition and subtraction, the factors in multiplication and division may have different units; e.g., 3 boxes of 5 cookies each.
    11. Model and use the commutative and associative properties for addition and multiplication.