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Math Curse



Last updated Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Author: Jon Scieszka
Illustrator: Lane Smith
Date of Publication: 1995
ISBN: 0670861944
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Nov. 2013

Synopsis: "Amazon review:
Did you ever wake up to one of those days where everything is a problem? You have 10 things to do, but only 30 minutes till the bus leaves. Is there enough time? You have 3 shirts and 2 pairs of pants -- can you make 1 good outfit? Don't worry -- it's just the Math Curse striking! An amusing book about dealing with numbers in everyday life."

Note to readers:
•  There are many math problems throughout this book. You should read the story first, before taking time to work on any of the math problems. (Don't worry, the answers are on the back cover - the tricky part will be matching answers to the question in the book). Be sure to let the kids know it's ok if they don't know how to solve these math problems - they probably haven't covered these examples in school and of course, most of the volunteers are not math teachers.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What is a "math curse"?
•  Do you think of math as a curse? Or do you like math?
•  Which math symbols on the cover do you recognize?

Vocabulary:
•  Fibonacci (fē-bə-ˈnδ-chē) - Leonardo Fibonacci (died ab1250); Italian mathematician
•  Fibonacci number - an integer in the infinite sequence 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, … of which the first two terms are 1 and 1 and each succeeding term is the sum of the two immediately preceding
•  social studies - a course of study that deals with human relationships and the way society works
•  geography - an area of study that deals with the location of countries, cities, rivers, mountains, lakes, etc.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What other ways do we use math in our daily lives?
•  Can you think of some specific examples of how you use math?
•  Do you think the character in the book was thinking too much about math problems? Why was he even dreaming about math?
•  By the end of the book, did the character think of math as a curse or fun?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a clock face with cut out numbers. Calculate the amount of time it takes you after waking up until you get to school.
•  Find out the birthday month of everyone in the room and make a birthday chart. Which month has the highest number of birthdays? Which month has the fewest?
•  Make a "Liquid Measurement Capacity Diagram". (see sample)

Special activities:
•  Have the kids pick some of the math problems in the book to work out on paper. Check the answers on the back cover. Be sure to let the kids know it's ok if they don't know how to solve these math problems - they probably haven't covered much of these examples in school yet and of course, most of the volunteers are not math teachers.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!