Friday, November 6, 2015

Ann McCallum Books (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

 I would like to invite you to enter a world of an alternative reality.  In this reality, my kids beg to do their math assignments, eager to learn about things like the Fibonacci sequence, Tessellations, and Probabilities.  To say they beg would be an understatement, in this reality, they pester me about doing extra math assignments even though they have JUST finished their previous assignment less than an hour before.    If I told you this alternative reality was my actual reality, you would assume that either I was exaggerating or that I have extremely nerdy kids.    Neither of these would be the case.

The truth is, we had the opportunity to review the book Eat Your Math Homework: Recipes for Hungry Minds from Ann McCallum books.   Written by Ann McCallum, this is just one book in a series which introduces educational concepts using recipes and yummy treats as a tool for learning.

Eat Your Math Homework is a 48 page paperback book that introduces kids to six different math concepts that take your kids out of the classroom and into the kitchen. The book opens with an introduction as well as kitchen safety tips for getting started and then ends with a math review that covers what was taught with each lesson as well as a glossary to help with definitions.  The full color pictures are cute and eye catching for younger students and the concepts taught are easy to understand, even for the youngest of kids.   This holds especially true when you have two students like my own who think with their stomachs before anything else.

Straight out of the gate, my kids decided they wanted to start with the middle of the book and make the "Tessellating Two Color Brownies" which teaches the concepts of repeating polygon patterns called tessellations.  While they were looking through the book, the idea of making various "pictures" out of their food really caught their attention and they knew this was what they wanted to do first.  (Of course, they had to pick the most difficult recipe out of the book to try first.. haha).

Well, lets just say if they are going to "eat their math homework", I made them do the homework
themselves in order to eat.  The recipes are very easy to follow and all I needed to do was help them measure out the ingredients and help them read the recipe for them.  Beyond that, I allowed the kids to do everything else on their own.   They had so much fun making these brownies on their own and they were great about taking turns pouring ingredients into the bowl and mixing everything up.   I would LOVE to show you a picture of the finished product but unfortunately, they gobbled up several of them before they had even cooled off (Note to parents:  put these up someplace safe while cooling or experience the same fate).

So I'm sure your asking yourself : Sure, your kids made brownies but did they actually learn anything?   Well,  I'll leave this with you - how many 2nd graders do you know would have a conversation with you in regards to whether or not a dodecahedron would be considered a tessellation?

Not all the included recipes are as labor intensive as making sugar covered brownies.  An introduction to simple fractions were easily handled using some well seasoned tortillas and a pizza cutter, while the concept of Pi is made delicious with a personal pizza.

We really enjoyed this book.  It was a lot of fun for us to actually put our math book away for a couple of weeks and concentrate instead on these fun recipes.  While each recipe concentrates on one particular math concept, kids are using other learned math concepts while measuring and mixing for each recipe.  Not all the recipes in this book involve turning on the oven, such as the trail mix that teaches about probability or the snack sticks that teach the Fibonacci sequence, but each recipe is fun and the kids found them to be very yummy.

This is only one book out of a series of "Eat Your Homework" books. Other titles include Eat Your US History Homework and Eat Your Science Homework.   Ann McCallum Books also offers picture books for younger students that introduces them to mathematical concepts in through fun stories.   Members of the Crew got to review each of these other books in addition to this one, so be sure to click over and read what the others have to say about this wonderful series.

Ann McCallum Books Review


  1. sounds like a good book. :) Would have been fun to review this one as well I think.

  2. I am going to order this book! My oldest daughter loves to cook and hates math, so this may be the perfect thing to show her math is fun!

    1. Megan, it really is a fun way of teaching various math concepts.


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