Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Millions to Measure
Schwartz, David M. 2003. MILLIONS TO MEASURE. Ill. by Steven Kellogg. New York: Harper Collins. ISBN 006623784X [Suggested Grade Levels 1-4]
SUMMARY and ANALYSIS
Not the typical dry and drab nonfiction offering, MILLIONS sheds light on the confusing concepts of measuring systems. Mathematics, measurements, and the metric system sparkle in the latest adventure of Marvelosissimo the Mathematical Magician. This time he tackles measuring systems. A brief history of measuring systems and the need for standardization is presented. Linear, volume, and weight measurements are compared. The origin of the American “customary system” of measurement is explained. Details of the metric system are also included.
Colorful illustrations and an entertaining supporting cast add to Marvelosissimo’s explanations and examples. Actual examples of a standard 12-inch ruler and a fold-out meter stick are included to provide readers with tangible examples of the lengths discussed, rather than Explanations of metric prefixes accompany to-scale illustrations to provide concrete visual samples to help readers compare the measurements. MILLIONS takes the fear and intimidation out of math. It provides simple examples that make these concepts accessible. Readers will be fascinated by the arbitrary standards upon which previous measuring systems were based. The history lesson is concise, and the math lessons are understandable. Readers can utilize this user-friendly reference to refresh their skills or to inspire new exploration.
Readers can use this book as a quick reference or supplemental resource for measurements, especially the metric system. Encourage children to compare their own feet to emphasize the discrepancies between measuring systems based on body parts discussed in the book. Have children use the rulers in the book to measure and record sizes and distances of items in the library and record them on a chart for display. Using the information presented in the author’s note, encourage readers to do further research into the lost Mars orbiter.
Other books by Schwartz that could be compared to this one:
HOW MUCH IS A MILLION? ISBN 0688040497
IF YOU MADE A MILLION. ISBN 0677136346
By Lea Ann Gilbert