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Friday, June 27, 2014

Geometry takes flight with the Wing Wing Brothers

The Wing Wing Brothers Geometry Palooza!
by Ethan Long
32 pages; ages 4-7
Holiday House, 2014

themes: math, humor

"Walter wheels out the Whammer. Here comes Wendell! Watch him whiz through the air!"

The Wing Wing Brothers are a family circus act of five wacky birds: Walter, Wendell, Willy, Wilmer, and Woody. They do their best to make math painless and fun. Using magic wands and feats of daring they whip those polygons into shape.

Their first amazing feat - Describing Relative Positions - opens with a blast, boom, splat! Their goal: Launch a human bird cannonball through a hoop of fire. Then, with a waggle of the wand - poof! Triangles! Squares! Rectangles! and more to amaze you! Of course there's the "sawing a person in the box" act... which turns out just the way you'd expect and requires special glue...

What I like about this book: it's silly and a fun way to play with math - as long as kids don't try these stunts at home! The alliterative language is fun, too.

Beyond the book: The first thing I wanted to do after reading this book was see how many different shapes I could make using just triangles and squares. Easy to do - just cut a couple or three index cards into right triangles and a square and put them together.

Tangrams! A tangram is a puzzle of seven shapes that are put together to form specific shapes, such as a rabbit or a boat. The tans (pieces) are: two large right triangles, two small right triangles, one medium right triangle, a square and a parallelogram. If you don't have a tangram puzzle, you can make one - directions here (you might want to trace the pieces onto a cereal box so they last longer). Or you can play with the puzzle online here.

Go on a field trip to find shapes. The best place to hunt for triangles (and other straight-edged shapes) is around town: bridges, buildings, playgrounds.

Today is STEM Friday - head over to the STEM Friday blog to see what other people are talking about in science. Review copy provided by publisher.

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