Building with Shapes
Building with Shapes
The lunch bell rings. Maddy opens her lunch
box. She takes out a sandwich. “Your
sandwich looks like a square!” Julian says.
A square is a shapes. It has four corners . It has four sides. Each side has the same length.
Julian’s father cut his sandwich in half. He
picks up one of the pieces. “Your sandwich
looks like a triangle!” Maddy laughs.
A triangle is a shape too. It had three corners. It has three sides.
Crabtree’s new “Full STEAM Ahead!” series consists of 20 titles that are divided into five groups of four: “Math Matters”, “Science Starters”, “Technology Time”, Engineering Everywhere” and “Arts in Action”. Crabtree explains that “Full STEAM Ahead is a literacy series that helps readers build vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension while learning about big ideas in STEAM subjects.”
For those unfamiliar with the term STEAM, Wikipedia describes STEAM as follows:
STEAM fields are science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics, or applied mathematics. STEAM is designed to integrate STEM subjects into various relevant education disciplines. These programs aim to teach students innovation, to think critically and use engineering or technology in imaginative designs or creative approaches to real-world problems while building on students' mathematics and science base. STEAM programs add art to STEM curriculum by drawing on design principles and encouraging creative solutions.
The four books in the “Math Matters” subset of the “Full STEAM Ahead!” series are Subtraction in Action, Skip Counting My Way to School, Building Tens with My Friends and Building with Shapes
In each of the books in the series, half of the copyright page is given over to content that is directed at the adult who will be using the title with a child or a group of children. It begins with “Title-Specific Learning Objectives”.
For example, the learning objectives for Subtraction in Action consist of:
* Describe subtraction as taking one number away from another, and identify subtraction clue words.
* Use visuals and clue words to complete subtraction problems.
* Identify the main ideas of the book and restate ideas in their own words.
The text then identifies the “High-frequency words (grade one)” that appear in the book as well as words described as “Academic vocabulary”. For example, in the case of Skip Counting My Way to School the former words are “by, can, her, in, one, she, the, to, we” while the latter words are “backward, fifth, forward, pattern, second, skip counting, tenth”.
The remainder of the half-page consists of suggested “Before, During, and After Reading Prompts” that a teacher or parent could employ if using the book in an instructional setting.
As is common in Crabtree series, words that are highlighted in the text are later defined in a “Words to Know” page. Assistance for educators continues on the book’s closing page which provides teachers with detailed information on conducting a STEAM activity that will help readers extend the ideas in the book and build their skills in some combination of the STEAM fields. In addition, teachers can download any worksheets needed to complete the suggested STEAM activity via www.crabtreebooks.com/resources/printables
Titles in the “Full STEAM Ahead!” series are also identified as “Crabtree Plus” books which means that readers, using a code found within the book, can access a Crabtree website where they can “Watch animated videos that help make concepts easier to understand, and play interactive games that let you put what you’ve learned to work.” At the time this review was written, this website, when accessed, was identified as “Coming soon”.
In Building with Shapes, the learning expectation is that readers, after interacting with the book’s contents, will: “Identify familiar shapes and describe their features” and be able to “Explain how shapes can fit together to make new shapes.” The book’s focal shapes are squares, rectangles, triangles and circles. Each “word problem” is visually supported via full-colour photos. The closing STEAM activity calls for the book’s users to create a piece of puzzle art using the shapes presented in the book.
Unlike some of the other subsets in the “Full STEAM Ahead!” series, the books in the “Math Matters” quartet do not present a cohesive whole, and consequently, according to their needs, teachers/parents might wish to purchase individual titles as opposed to acquiring all four books.
Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.