I am always on the lookout for resources that make math more fun and exciting for kids. Several years ago, a colleague of mine loaned me a copy of Sir Cumference and the Great Knight of Angleland to read to my fifth grade during our geometry chapter. They ate it up and always after that referred to “acute little angles” and the “Mountains of Obtuse” when trying to remember those vocabulary words.
My own preschooler is in a big knights and dragons phase right now, so following the child brought us right back around to one of my favorites! We have been systematically checking out the Sir Cumference books from our local library, and these boys can’t get enough! Are a three-year-old and his one-year-old brother really understanding the derivation of pi? Probably not quite yet, but one of the biggest battles we fight in math is getting kids to absorb new vocabulary and concepts. If they are not exposed to these ideas until fourth or fifth grade, they struggle. The sooner we can get them comfortable with math terminology, the better, and Neuschwander is a genius at making these ideas memorable and fun!
The illustrations are also fantastic and include some pretty entertaining Easter eggs. My kids love trying to find the squirrel on every page of The Great Knight of Angleland or noticing what Radius’s pet kitten is up to in The Dragon of Pi, and you get bonus points if you can locate the couple from “American Gothic” chilling among the rest of the lords and ladies.
My kids’ favorites so far and the topics they cover include:
The First Round Table — names and attributes of geometric shapes
The Great Knight of Angleland — types of angles and how to use a protractor
The Dragon of Pi — derivation of pi
All the King’s Tens — place value