Sometimes when I finish a book that I loved I can’t wait to sit down and gush about how great it is. Other times, I love it but I just know I won’t be able to give it proper credit: I struggle to explain just why it is so incredible.
Shapes in Math, Science, and Nature by Catherine Sheldrick Ross (April 2014, Kids Can Press) is a book I struggle to describe. The title suggests something a little bit academic.
But it is far from simply a geometry book about shapes. Rather, Shapes in Math, Science, and Nature is a fascinating activity book for kids with activities and experiments that can get even the math and science averse excited about shapes. It covers not only the subjects indicated on the cover but also history, culture and anthropology, ancient games, and even a little bit of literature.
I have always “disliked” mathematics, but when I got to geometry in high school, I really liked it. I can’t say I remember much but Shapes was a great refresher for many aspects. To be honest, I found myself learning complicated concepts that I don’t recall very learning before! Can you say “fractals”? What about the appearance of Fibonacci series in nature? I don’t know how nature and numbers work together so beautifully, but Ross’ book about shapes has given me a new appreciation of math, shapes, nature, and world history and architecture.
In terms of kids (the main audience), I can only resoundingly say YES they will enjoy it. It reads like a trivia book, with plenty of hands on interaction for each concept: experiments to prove a point, related issues from around the world, and real world real life application examples. Kids with a probably age 10 and up could pour over the book for hours, just as I did. This could be an ideal book for a homeschooling parent to strew around the house for older kids. Young kids could probably work from sections with adult assistance and direction, and with parental planning, I believe it could be used as a science spine for homeschool.
Shapes in Math, Science, and Nature is a treasure. It’s a book that my husband found as well. He too could not help exploring it’s pages. Finally, the lessons that my high school teachers tried to drill in to me (that all mathematics is found in our daily lives) have been understood. If only I’d had this gem when I was dreading mathematics as a kid.
Note: I received a digital review copy of this book. I loved it so much I had to go find a physical copy!