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Math-terpieces: The Art of Problem-Solving

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In his most ground-breaking book since THE BEST OF TIMES (Fall 2002), Greg Tang underscores the importance of four basic rules in problem-solving. Keeping an open mind, looking for unusual number combinations, using multiple skills (like subtracting to add) and looking for patterns, will guarantee any child success in math. In MATH-TERPIECES, Tang continues to challenge ki In his most ground-breaking book since THE BEST OF TIMES (Fall 2002), Greg Tang underscores the importance of four basic rules in problem-solving. Keeping an open mind, looking for unusual number combinations, using multiple skills (like subtracting to add) and looking for patterns, will guarantee any child success in math. In MATH-TERPIECES, Tang continues to challenge kids with his innovative approach to math, and uses art history to expand his vision for creative problem-solving.


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In his most ground-breaking book since THE BEST OF TIMES (Fall 2002), Greg Tang underscores the importance of four basic rules in problem-solving. Keeping an open mind, looking for unusual number combinations, using multiple skills (like subtracting to add) and looking for patterns, will guarantee any child success in math. In MATH-TERPIECES, Tang continues to challenge ki In his most ground-breaking book since THE BEST OF TIMES (Fall 2002), Greg Tang underscores the importance of four basic rules in problem-solving. Keeping an open mind, looking for unusual number combinations, using multiple skills (like subtracting to add) and looking for patterns, will guarantee any child success in math. In MATH-TERPIECES, Tang continues to challenge kids with his innovative approach to math, and uses art history to expand his vision for creative problem-solving.

30 review for Math-terpieces: The Art of Problem-Solving

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    In this cross-curricular concept book, the preceding page contains a historical painting with a caption of title, artist and date as well as a brief rhyme about the painter and a grouping puzzle to be solved on the next page. Degas and dancing shoes, Monet and lilies, Renoir and umbrellas, Cezanne and peaches, van Gogh and stars, Seurat and hot spots, Matisse and fish, Picasso and eyes, Mondrian and squares, Dali and melting clocks, Pollock and paint splotches, Warhol and soup cans all cleverly In this cross-curricular concept book, the preceding page contains a historical painting with a caption of title, artist and date as well as a brief rhyme about the painter and a grouping puzzle to be solved on the next page. Degas and dancing shoes, Monet and lilies, Renoir and umbrellas, Cezanne and peaches, van Gogh and stars, Seurat and hot spots, Matisse and fish, Picasso and eyes, Mondrian and squares, Dali and melting clocks, Pollock and paint splotches, Warhol and soup cans all cleverly convey a bit of art appreciation and history. Color photography of iconic art images are imposed on background of pastel abstract shapes while identifying features of a painting style are rendered in brighter pastels on the opposite page. At the back of this math book are solutions along with more detailed text about how “to systematically test and keep track of possible combinations of groups.” A visual feast for the eyes followed by a useful application of addition, Math-terpieces is a fine title to add to a library’s collection, whether public or school. School Library Journal recommends using this book as the “basis for collaborative lessons between math and art teachers (Wysocki, 2004), but definitely the book aligns with the grade two math standard of number sense (California Department of Education, 1997).

  2. 4 out of 5

    Wallace Johnson

    Genre: I placed this title in my reading log under Children’s Counting Picture Books Summary: Putting math and art together, the author has created an interesting and colorful way to learn basic math skills. Critique: (a.) I feel the strength in this title lies within the author’s aptitude to put historic pictures to work in a young child’s mind in order to help them use basic addition and subtraction skills. (b.) Every other page shows a historic piece of art. For example, page 8 shows The Umbrell Genre: I placed this title in my reading log under Children’s Counting Picture Books Summary: Putting math and art together, the author has created an interesting and colorful way to learn basic math skills. Critique: (a.) I feel the strength in this title lies within the author’s aptitude to put historic pictures to work in a young child’s mind in order to help them use basic addition and subtraction skills. (b.) Every other page shows a historic piece of art. For example, page 8 shows The Umbrellas (1881-86) and page 22 shows The Persistence of Memory (1931). Also on that same page is a short arithmetic rhyme to solve an equation located on the corresponding page. On page 22, the reader is tasked with “Finding SEVEN ways to make an 8,” using the clocks found on page 23. (c.) Intriguing way to put the mind of a young child to work. This can be done while admiring colorful art, reading a rhyme and doing math. The reader is definitely learning and having fun at the same time in this fashion. Curriculum Connection: What an enjoyable way to learn and have fun in a group read aloud in the classroom. We can incorporate not only math, but history, art and rhyming as well.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Schweiter

    This awesome addition book mixes mathematics and the arts. This book would be a great reference for teachers with students at all levels of addition (since the difficulty in the game can vary). Summary: Visually oriented math challenges, inspired by historically significant art, give readers several ways to practice addition by regrouping several different parts to make a whole. Critique: Math-terpieces helps students practice breaking apart the sum of a math problem to find what two pieces of inf This awesome addition book mixes mathematics and the arts. This book would be a great reference for teachers with students at all levels of addition (since the difficulty in the game can vary). Summary: Visually oriented math challenges, inspired by historically significant art, give readers several ways to practice addition by regrouping several different parts to make a whole. Critique: Math-terpieces helps students practice breaking apart the sum of a math problem to find what two pieces of information might give us that sum. This book is a great way to discuss addition with your students because even though this book is classified as fiction, it has several nonfiction elements to it including the math and the historical art. Math-terpieces would also be a good way to introduce (or see if any of the students guess it) the zero concept. Because, zero plus blank is an option with every problem on how to get to a sum of seven (you can see it in the pictures). This book has great rhythmic motion, no didacticism, several addition-prompting questions, and cultural influence.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dolly

    We really enjoyed reading this book about art and math together. We've read all of Greg Tang's math books and we loved the challenges, the rhymes and especially in this case, the art education. We loved the brain-teasing aspect of the problems (making various combinations of items add up to the same sum) and we loved taking turns finding solutions. We would only do a couple of problems together each time, but our girls would always ask to do more. We hope that Greg Tang writes more of these book We really enjoyed reading this book about art and math together. We've read all of Greg Tang's math books and we loved the challenges, the rhymes and especially in this case, the art education. We loved the brain-teasing aspect of the problems (making various combinations of items add up to the same sum) and we loved taking turns finding solutions. We would only do a couple of problems together each time, but our girls would always ask to do more. We hope that Greg Tang writes more of these books!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brandy

    This is the most recent addition to my children’s book collection, and it has quickly become one of my favorites. For anyone interested in “multiple intelligences”- this is gold. It incorporates classic works of art, mathematics, poetry and stellar vocabulary. A great interactive book to read and enjoy with the kiddos, and a nice Art 101 refresher to boot.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Leila

    Tang does a great job with this book--it combines art masterpieces, a (VERY) brief introduction to art styles--in poetry, no less!--and then a math puzzler for each piece of art. This is BASIC math--all addition facts. Lots of fun for little ones! A great living math book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jessie

    Each spread introduces an artist and a style (with both clearly stated) using one painting (again, with title given) as an example. It's a good overview of a hundred or so years of painting in the West for kids. Each spread provides a prompt to make a certain number in another number of ways from sets on the other side of the spread. All the numbers to be made are at most ten. Students working on counting small numbers and subitizing would find the prompts very difficult, but the book could be ad Each spread introduces an artist and a style (with both clearly stated) using one painting (again, with title given) as an example. It's a good overview of a hundred or so years of painting in the West for kids. Each spread provides a prompt to make a certain number in another number of ways from sets on the other side of the spread. All the numbers to be made are at most ten. Students working on counting small numbers and subitizing would find the prompts very difficult, but the book could be adjusted to work on those skills. This is most aimed at students working on addition of small numbers. (Note here that there's a lot of addition of more than two numbers. Three is common, and there were a couple of sets of four.) Tang said in the intro that this could foreshadow permutations and combinations for older students. I found that a bit of a stress, but the relationship to partitions is clearer. A ten frame might be a useful manipulative here. I could also see having students choose a painter and painting and then having them make their own sum challenge from there. (Essentially, make a new spread in the style of the book.)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Watson

    This book teaches children to add creatively rather than count in order to find out how many objects are on each page. I think the skill of looking for patterns to speed count is nicely taught, though it doesn't really coach kids to choose strategies for themselves - it just hints at the particular one they're supposed to use with a riddle. Illustrations and word choice are geared to a young audience, but the riddles are not - so the preschool crowd might enjoy the book but they're just going to This book teaches children to add creatively rather than count in order to find out how many objects are on each page. I think the skill of looking for patterns to speed count is nicely taught, though it doesn't really coach kids to choose strategies for themselves - it just hints at the particular one they're supposed to use with a riddle. Illustrations and word choice are geared to a young audience, but the riddles are not - so the preschool crowd might enjoy the book but they're just going to count the objects anyway. Older kids (2nd grade and up, probably) will get the riddles. Greg Tang has several books all built around the same concept, including Math for All Seasons, Math Appeal, and Math-terpieces. So far the Grapes of Math is my favorite. In this one, the riddles are a little less complicated; I feel like the math concept is taught better in some of the other books but this one has the added benefit of art exposure.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jo Oehrlein

    Each two page spread features a well known painting, a rhyming problem/challenge, and then groups of an object from the painting that you need to try to add together to get the stated number. Example: The first painting is a Degas ballet dancer painting. The challenge is to make 7. The harder challenge is to make 7 three different ways. On the facing page are groups of 5, 2, 4, 3, and 1 pointe shoes (with no numbers). 5+2 = 7 4+3 = 7 4 + 2 + 1 = 7 In the book, all the goals (and all the objects) are ten Each two page spread features a well known painting, a rhyming problem/challenge, and then groups of an object from the painting that you need to try to add together to get the stated number. Example: The first painting is a Degas ballet dancer painting. The challenge is to make 7. The harder challenge is to make 7 three different ways. On the facing page are groups of 5, 2, 4, 3, and 1 pointe shoes (with no numbers). 5+2 = 7 4+3 = 7 4 + 2 + 1 = 7 In the book, all the goals (and all the objects) are ten or less, so the book is about making 10. Sometimes you need 2 addends and sometimes more.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mary Thomas

    I had a hard time with this one. Like, I didn't even understand what the questions were asking (and had to look back at the answers). It just didn't make sense to me. I liked Grapes of Math much better. Curriculum tie-ins - math, grouping, problem solving

  11. 4 out of 5

    N

    This book has a great piece of art, a rhyme about the art, and then a page of pictures related to the art that are math puzzles. It's very cute and I hope kids will like it. Another great STEAM option.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    I loved how Greg Tang used famous art pieces by Mondrian, Degas, Picasso, and others to help children practice adding.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I love the concept of this book. It takes famous paintings and has students do math problems from the paintings. I love the art & the way it asks students to problem solve. I love the concept of this book. It takes famous paintings and has students do math problems from the paintings. I love the art & the way it asks students to problem solve.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chappyfamily

    Want to buy this one a great math book for little ones and a great art book too

  15. 5 out of 5

    Janae Ricks

    A super creative way to integrate art and math! This book has activities and challenges while teaching about masterpieces. I love it! (picture book)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Weber

    Personal Reaction: The previous C&T 344 teacher Beth Cigler recommended for us to use this book in our classroom when we teach math to our elementary schoolers. I found this book in the LRC and I got so excited because I could not wait to read all the way through it. It was a great read and I definitely recommend this. Read Aloud: This book is informational both in math and art terms. It would be a good joint study/lesson. It deals with several different types of art including impressionism and p Personal Reaction: The previous C&T 344 teacher Beth Cigler recommended for us to use this book in our classroom when we teach math to our elementary schoolers. I found this book in the LRC and I got so excited because I could not wait to read all the way through it. It was a great read and I definitely recommend this. Read Aloud: This book is informational both in math and art terms. It would be a good joint study/lesson. It deals with several different types of art including impressionism and post-impressionism. In math terms it deals with grouping and patterns and finding more than one with the same picture. A good lesson would be to read through this book and then have kids find a painting online in groups and come up with a good scenario to go with it. Independent Read: This would be a good independent read for a second grader. Grouping is really not a difficult type of math to do so I am confident that a second grader could do each of these activities on his or her own. This book would mainly be read by children very interested in math or art. For nonfiction: This book has an author's note as well as the solutions and art notes in the back of the book. This book is very different but I think it is much better and more interesting than many of the math books I have ever read. I would teach the math problems and the solutions to the kids in numbers rather than picture form which may help some kdis who have trouble thinking outside of the box.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Logan Williams

    Personal Reaction: This book would be a terrific resource to have within a first grade classroom because it combines art, math, and even poetry! Each page consists of a famous piece of art and then the author developed a math question using a component from the painting that the reader must solve by using simple grouping (addition). This books stunning artwork of various forms of art could be used in a multitude of ways in classrooms ranging from a K-1 class to an art class. Purpose/Use in Classr Personal Reaction: This book would be a terrific resource to have within a first grade classroom because it combines art, math, and even poetry! Each page consists of a famous piece of art and then the author developed a math question using a component from the painting that the reader must solve by using simple grouping (addition). This books stunning artwork of various forms of art could be used in a multitude of ways in classrooms ranging from a K-1 class to an art class. Purpose/Use in Classroom: This book would be a great resource for a classroom starting a math lesson due to the various problems that are available to solve. This book would be most beneficial if the teacher read it aloud then showed the 2nd page on a document camera. As a teacher I would then let my students attempt to solve the answer and then we would go over it as a class. Some conventions that were used were the solutions at the end of the book. The author put in a lot of effort and work to write down the steps that they should use in order to figure out the correct answers.There are also art notes, which go into further detail about the authors and their work.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Becky B

    Tang uses famous pieces of art to inspire creative rhymes and problem solving activities. On each page spread there is a masterpiece on the left followed by a rhyme that gives a little information about the art and challenges the reader to find a certain number of different ways to group the drawings on the opposite page. For example, on the page with one of Monet's famous paintings of water lilies, readers are challenged to find four ways to add the lily groups on the opposite page to make a bi Tang uses famous pieces of art to inspire creative rhymes and problem solving activities. On each page spread there is a masterpiece on the left followed by a rhyme that gives a little information about the art and challenges the reader to find a certain number of different ways to group the drawings on the opposite page. For example, on the page with one of Monet's famous paintings of water lilies, readers are challenged to find four ways to add the lily groups on the opposite page to make a big group of eight lilies. The opposite page has groups of 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 lilies available to be combined. This is a nice little introduction to various artists, art forms and pieces, as well as a nice brain workout for kids. The rhymes and extra illustrations are top rate too. A great multi-disciplinary resource for the lower or middle grades.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tasasha Battle

    This book integrates math and art. As the reader turns each page they are encountered by the majestic masterpieces from a variety of artists and eras. Tang takes elements from the pieces and group them on the opposite page. It is in these groupings that students are to arrange to get the desired amount. Each grouping ranges from one to five with none of them being more than five. This book teaches first grade students about the works of famous artists as well as how to create combination of addi This book integrates math and art. As the reader turns each page they are encountered by the majestic masterpieces from a variety of artists and eras. Tang takes elements from the pieces and group them on the opposite page. It is in these groupings that students are to arrange to get the desired amount. Each grouping ranges from one to five with none of them being more than five. This book teaches first grade students about the works of famous artists as well as how to create combination of addition equations that equal the same amount. The combination equations can be either be two or three addition equations. For example, 5+2=7 or 3+2+2=7. The solutions to these equations are in the back of the book as well as how each masterpiece can be taught in the perspective of mathematics.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Inna Nako

    -book on solving math problems using famous art pieces -very creative artwork, and based on the art, students are to find differnt ways to solve the problem -strategies are explained in the back of the book, includeing adding and subtracting -rhyming poems accompany each problem -students can work in pairs to see the ways they can solve the problems, and then explain to each other the strategies used -teachers can also use this as an engaging assessment tool after studying the specific strategies -a -book on solving math problems using famous art pieces -very creative artwork, and based on the art, students are to find differnt ways to solve the problem -strategies are explained in the back of the book, includeing adding and subtracting -rhyming poems accompany each problem -students can work in pairs to see the ways they can solve the problems, and then explain to each other the strategies used -teachers can also use this as an engaging assessment tool after studying the specific strategies -a fun activity would be for the students to have manipulatives and actually work out the problems using those manipulatives, making it more hands on

  21. 5 out of 5

    Susan Tuttle

    I typically don't love math books, because it is not my favorite subject. I will make an exception for this book though. I love how he tied famous pieces of artwork to mathematics. All throughout the book there are references to the artwork which he then ties to specific mathematical questions. He focuses the mathematical content to groupings, and abstract thinking for older children and addition for younger children. He makes practicing math a little more interesting for those who more right br I typically don't love math books, because it is not my favorite subject. I will make an exception for this book though. I love how he tied famous pieces of artwork to mathematics. All throughout the book there are references to the artwork which he then ties to specific mathematical questions. He focuses the mathematical content to groupings, and abstract thinking for older children and addition for younger children. He makes practicing math a little more interesting for those who more right brained.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kari Thompson

    The curriculum development team folks at school are really pushing that we teach the steps of problem-solving to kids explicitly. This book isn't about the steps, but rather the strategies you can use on an ongoing basis while following those steps. I think you need both, so I think this book is a great way to get both steps and strategies talked about. The strategies in this book are: keeping an open mind, looking for unusual number combinations, using multiple skills, and looking for patterns.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lisa C

    Great book for practicing addition using pictures. Also introduces famous artists. Each pair of pages has a painting and a poem with the math riddle on one side, and something to count on the other page. For example, The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali is on the art/poem page, and groups of melting clocks on the counting page. Child has to find different ways to add up to various numbers up to ten. Adequate challenge for my 6yo.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kara

    I thought the way this book was written was so clever. Personally, I am huge art fan, so pairing math with art and different artists is ingenious! Not only does this book teach relevant math topics but it exposes children to acclaimed artists and their masterpieces. I could see this book being used in a typical classroom and an art room then inspiring many extension activities.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This book is unique and interactive! With each flip of a page, the reader is presented with a famous work of art and asked to find several different ways to group objects from the piece to arrive at a certain sum. The kids and I thoroughly enjoyed the way this book brought together math and some of our favorite paintings!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shunta

    I would defintely use this book as a activity. I can only imagine what fun things can come from this. It involves word problems, abstract thinking, rhyming, kids would makke their own examples from ideas on the page. Creative.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Allison Burke

    I thought this book was really cool because it's taking famous artwork and using the different types of art techniques in math. This is a great way for students to connect math with other subjects and everyday life events. It's a fun book to learn about art, counting, and patterns. Grades pek-2

  28. 5 out of 5

    Karan Johnstone

    This book makes you think how you can group objects in different ways. I love that he uses pieces of art to help tell the grouping problem. So many students at my school don't get the chance to go to museums so this is a good book to expose them to art.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

    This book was pretty enjoyable. This would be perfect if you were tying in art and math concepts. There were many famous paintings with math questions of grouping. I thought it was a well-thought out book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Eva Kelly

    This was a tricky one, and it took me a while, and I still don't think I got it right. I think we might have to get this one again, but that's OK. I'll be in homeschool for the next 20 or 30 years, so we have time.

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