Monday, September 15, 2008

G is for Googol

Book recommendation and Amazon link.

I've often talked about how (at least in the early years) 99% of the Math Brian knew he learnt not from school or from me, but from Kjartan Poskitt's Murderous Math series, for example, this post here. Often, when I ask him how he's able to do his GEP Math worksheets without being taught, he said he learnt them from Murderous Math.

While Sean has read perhaps all of his korkor's Horrible Science series, he has only read maybe 1 MM book (doesn't matter, Brian only started on them when he was in P1). However, he does like to read G is for Googol, a book I had bought for Brian back in 2005 from the scholastics book order in his Frankfurt school. And I'd recommend this book too, it's thin but Sean's actually learnt some Math from it.

First, he surprised me earlier in the week by telling me, "Mummy, I only know my binary numbers up to 512", when I didn't even know he knew what binary numbers were. He doesn't talk much Math with me, it's always Science stuff which I'm not interested in. But talk Math with me, and I perk up somewhat, cos I do know a lot more Math than Science (which I know isn't saying very much given the abysmal level of my Science knowledge). I then told him to go slow and just continue doubling, so he got up to 8192 before giving up.

And twice over dinner this week, he starts talking about Palindromic numbers.

Then this evening, I asked if he still remembered what triangular numbers were and he went, "1, 3, 6, 10..." till 66.

So I suggested, only half in jest that "Next time, when you're bored, maybe you could think about number patterns, instead of tortoises all the time."

He nodded, "Okay." haha.

I shouted for Brian to come over, "BRIAN! What other number patterns are there? Binary, squares, triangular...what else?"...

Before Brian could come over, Sean suddenly said, "Mummy, do you know that the leaves and the petals of clovers and flowers come in the Fibonacci sequence?"

He pronounced it FAI-bonacci, instead of FEE-bonacci.

I went, "You know Fee-bonacci?"

He continued, "For example, a clover has 3 leaves and it's very lucky for you if you get a 4-leafed clover. A daisy has 13 petals. These are Fibonacci numbers."

I asked, "So what are the numbers?"

He said, "I'm not sure, but I think it's, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13...."

Brian came by and said it's actually, "1, 1, 2, 3, 5, ...." and showed Sean exactly how the pattern is derived.

So it's not just Murderous Math that's an excellent Math teacher for kids; G is for Googol is pretty good too, cos that's definitely where Sean learnt about Binary and Fibonacci numbers.


monlim said...

I don't think it's the books, I think it's the child! Your kids are precocious :)

Lilian said...

The books available to this generation's kids are really ingenious lah. Filled with comics and ridiculous scenarios and jokes yet robust enough to deliver learning concepts to the reader without the child realising it.

monlim said...

thanks for the rec, looks really interesting. i should get it for lesley-anne. do u think the murderous maths series will create an interest in math? she likes the science series but never touches the math ones.

Lilian said...

Kjartan Poskitt, the Murderous Math author, has a pretty zany sense of humour, so not just Lesley-Anne, I think Andre will enjoy these books too. Even if he's just reading the comics, it's a start.

The MM series really gives a solid foundation for mathematical knowledge, much more so than the Horrible Science series for scientific knowledge, imo.

Alcovelet said...

Hi LIlian, Tks for the rec! Can I recommend The Number Devil as well. I bought it from one of those Kinokuniya 20% sales - they have a big size text one which is red in colour. You know lah - I bought it way ahead, thinking it might be fun for whenever. But RK picked it up and loves it. The triangle numbers were absolutely new to me, so it was great to see he'd worked out the number pattern. Our Murderous Math books are lying around - he's still bypassing them for the moment, so it's great to know what to put on top of the pile 1st, hehe.

Lilian said...

Welcome Adeline. We have Number Devil too, the normal size text one (yellow cover). Another math-related storybook is The Man who Counted. Brian's teacher passed him the book to read last year, I think he enjoyed it.

Tsu Lin + + said...

**totally gobsmacked** I guess I need to be more diligent later when my baby reaches that age. I can't stress just how important Math is. And, sorry, I don't know what Palindromic numbers are... how educational.

I need to compile these books. Where do you buy them from UK?

Lilian said...

I bought some of them from Singapore, and accumulated the rest over time from a smallish bookshop in London's Ealing shopping centre.

Paid full price for them; and after we had the whole collection, discovered that the whole series could have been purchased at a fraction of the price in an online shop called The Book People in UK. They don't seem to have this in stock now though.