I was excited to write this book and share my love of math with you. It’s something that has fascinated me since I was your age and continues to amaze me with every new thing I learn.
Math is about solving problems and being creative. The world is full of problems waiting to be solved. Many people around the world work as scientists, engineers, technologists, and in hospitals—all of them use math skills to help people and create solutions.
I hope you’ll be able to use your creativity as you try the activities packed into this book. As you turn the pages, you’ll realize that math isn’t just about the classroom or homework.
It’s all over our world and is done by almost everyone every day. The food you eat, the buildings you visit, and your own body—all are made possible by a fantastic balance of mathematics.
Math shows up everywhere. Before you get started, I have one special request for you. When you learn a cool new bit of math, read about an amazing person, or build something new from this book, share it with your friends and family.
Help them be math wizards with you! Have conversations with the people around you whenever and wherever you see math. Keep talking and thinking about it— maybe one day you’ll get to write a book about it too. Anyone can be a math wizard. Let’s get you started!
How this book works In How to be a Math Wizard, you will learn how to think and act like a mathematician. The book is packed with fun activities, important topics, and people who have used their math skills to do amazing things.
Awesome activities Learn on the job with the activities throughout this book, which show key ideas within math. There are also crafts to make math devices, such as an abacus, and memory aids that help you remember important facts.
Safety first All of the projects in this book should be done carefully. If you see this symbol at the top of a page, it means that you will need an adult to help you with the activity.
Top topics Learn about some of the key math topics, such as division, measuring, and decimals. These will support and build on what you’ve learned through the craft projects
Math heroes Meet the inspirational people who have used math to make a difference in the world. And remember: anyone can learn to be a math wizard.
Getting ready You can do many of the activities in this book right away. Rummage around at home to see if you can gather the items you need. Here are instructions on how to use some of the most important math tools you’ll need.
If you look closely, there’s math involved in how food looks, the way it’s made, and how we divide it up. From making recipes to describing the shape of your favorite snack, learn to see the math behind the food on your plate.
Counting You’ve probably been counting since you were little. It’s a simple way of finding how many of something you have. Everyday life is full of counting. If you want to give each of your friends an orange, you’d count up the oranges. You’d need to count a lot more pieces of food if you were giving one to everybody in your school!
More than or less than? Finding out if one number is bigger than another is called comparing numbers.
For example, two is more than one. This type of math is useful in real life if you need to make sure you’ve shared something fairly.
If you take six tomatoes and your friend is left with four, then you have taken more tomatoes than your friend.
Watermelon fractions What do a slice of pizza and an orange segment have in common? They’re both fractions! When we split something up into parts, we create fractions. Here’s how you can split up a watermelon plate.
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