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Mathematical Stories I – Graphs, Games and Proofs For Gifted Students in Primary School

Susanne Schindler-Tschirner and Werner Schindler
Publication Date: 
Number of Pages: 
Problem Book
[Reviewed by
Mary Beth Rollick
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This delightful book is the first of a two-part series intended for use with gifted students in third and fourth grades. Teachers who differentiate mathematics lessons, leaders of mathematics study groups, parents, and anyone who enjoys mathematics games and puzzles would find this book interesting. A storyline creates the motivation for a third or fourth grader to try the problems in their quest to gain acceptance to the exclusive CoEYM (Club of Enthusiastic Young Mathematicians).
The book includes six problems that require creative thinking and let the students experience the joy of discovery in mathematics while at the same time developing the mathematical habits of mind such as solving a simpler problem and being persistent. Problems include path problems, optimal game strategy problems, and word puzzles. The problems in this book do not require calculations. Each problem includes several levels of difficulty to meet various ability levels and the problems will usually take more than one group session to complete. Each problem chapter ends with a listing of  “What I Learned in this Chapter” which highlights for the students the mathematical skills they used.
In addition to the chapters which describe the problem storyline, each problem is accompanied by a sample solution chapter which is understandable even for non-mathematicians. This chapter describes the intent of the problem, gives suggestions for implementing the problem, and includes additional ideas to motivate and scaffold the student’s efforts. A listing of the mathematical content for each problem and additional references is also provided. The book ends with a bibliography of references which, except for two entries, is entirely in German. This is not surprising because the book itself is an English translation of the original German edition.

Mary Beth Rollick is Professor Emerita at Kent State University, in Kent, Ohio. She enjoys tutoring students to help them find the joy of mathematics as well as to understand the “why” and the “how” of mathematics.