Math Knight

sircumference.jpgToday, Tracy shares a way for kids to get their knightly fill in an educational, non-violent manner:

"Both of my boys have become obsessed with all things 'knight' at about the age of 4. They request everything from costumes, to videos, to books on these heroic and chivalrous men. When Gabriel was this age, it was difficult to find fictional stories that didn’t contain too much violence, or focus on battles and slaying enemies.
Then, I found Sir Cumference. A series of math adventure books by Cindy Neuschwander and Wayne Geehan, these tales captured the minds and imaginations of my two boys for as long as their obsessions have lasted. Sir Cumference and his family (Lady Di of Ameter, and son Radius) face challenges that involve mathematical problems for them to solve. In the first book we read (Sir Cumference and the First Round Table), Sir Cumference was called upon by King Arthur to help find a solution for a table that would prevent shouting, talking amongst themselves, and cramped corners for the band of 12 knights who served him. He consults his intelligent wife, and ta-da! The first Round Table was born! Math concepts in this book include the basic measurements of a circle: circumference (named after you know who), diameter, and radius, in addition to an introduction to shapes in general.

Other titles to enjoy are: Sir Cumference and the Sword in the Cone , Sir Cumference and the Great Knight of Angleland, Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi, and Sir Cumference and the Isle of Immeter. Each story contains a math concept learned through a knightly challenge. Parents will enjoy reading these stories since they are more likely to pick up on the puns and wordplay inherent in every tale. My favorites? King Arthur’s heir (who finds the sword in the cone) becomes King Vertex the Line-Hearted, and the sword he finds is called Edgecalibur. I still chuckle at the clever, yet subtle changes to make things consistent with math lingo.

Do the boys, at age 4-7, actually acquire the math lessons? I’m not sure. Some of the concepts are certainly above their heads at this point. The books do, however, show all the signs of favorites, such as repeated requests for readings, bringing the same book to show and tell 5 times in a row, flopping open automatically to the most favored page, and tape on the spots where pages are turned again and again. And, it’s pretty neat to see your child dress up as his favorite knight and go searching the house for clues hidden in 'triangular prisms.'"