We’ve been doing “fun” math word problems here lately. I think nearly everyone in homeschooling already knows about Ed Zaccaro’s great series of books, including Primary Challenge Math, but in case you don’t, his books are wonderful. I have been looking forward to using Primary Challenge Math for awhile. It explains a type of problem, then gives three different levels of problems about it. It’s hard to say exactly what makes it so appealing. The math isn’t so different from what’s in many quality word problem sets. However, the way Zaccaro lays it out is fun and engaging and not overwhelming at all. The boys have enjoyed this.
Second, we have done a few problems from the bizarre book The Book of Perfectly Perilous Math. The problems in this book all involve monsters and impending doom. If you can solve the problem, you’ll survive and if not, then you’re done for. Each problem also includes a math lab to explore, which is fun. We got this at the start of the year and have only done a few, but it’s been a neat thing to have on hand. Some of the problems, such as about probability and statistics, will be better suited to fourth grade anyway.
Finally, I have finally taken out an old favorite of mine, Louis Sachar’s Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School. I adore this book and used it for fun when I was teaching sixth grade math. I haven’t seen people mention using it as a resource, which makes me sad. More people should know about it! The opening chapters give math problems where each letter stands for a digit 0-9 and you have to figure out what each is by looking at the whole problem. For example, four + eight = twelve and elf + elf = fool. It’s good mathy fun. The rest of the book gives amusing logic problems. It is already a big hit here.