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Go Figure!: A Totally Cool Book About Numbers (Big Questions) Hardcover – August 15, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
Go Figure! gives children the opportunity to unlock the magic of numbers through brainteasers, mind-reading games and magic tricks. This book also contains some of the puzzles that have stumped the world's smartest mathematicians.
The author, Johnny Ball introduces concepts to make math more fun and very easy to understand. Part of what makes this book quite enjoyable is the full-color pages filled with diagrams, pictures and explanations. The concepts are divided into four main chapters:
Where do Numbers come from?
The World of Math
Children will learn about Roman numerals, infinity, secret codes, World News, how counting began, shapes, chaos and logic. Johnny Ball also answers the following questions:
Did Cavemen Count?
How many molecules are in one glass of water?
What do the symbols on a Babylonian clay token mean?
How did the Mayans count?
How do insects use prime timing to survive?
How did numbers evolve? See Indian numbers go from 10 symbols to what they are today. One was originally a horizontal line. Three, three horizontal lines. Which really helps to explain why three looks the way it does today. Really fascinating stuff even for adults to read about.
As someone who enjoyed writing words upside down on my calculator in school, I thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining book about how math evolved through time. There is even a page comparing 1-100 in Babylonian, Egyptian hieroglyphics, Chinese script, Hindu, Hebrew, Greek, Roman, Mayan and Modern Arabic.Read more ›
Author Johnny Ball begins at the beginning, with a review of the many ways that different cultures reckon numbers. Base ten? How about base 20 (in cultures where people count on their fingers AND toes)?
Kids also get to see how different systems for writing numbers--from Egypt to Rome to India to the Mayan empire--developed. And Ball presents all sorts of intriguing topics, including pi, magic squares, primes, geometry, topology, logic, and fractals.
The book is bursting with helpful illustrations and peppered with questions, thought problems, cool math shortcuts, and activities. For example, the reader learns how to prove that a triangle's angles add up to 180 degrees (by drawing a triangle on paper, tearing out each corner, and then fitting them together along a straight line).
Negatives? The explanations aren't always satisfying, as when Ball explains why numbers from the Fibonacci sequence (i.e.,...5, 8, 13, 21, 35...) turn up in nature so often. ("...they provide the best way for packing seeds, petals, or leaves in a limited space without large gaps or awkward overlaps.")
But I don't really see this as a shortcoming. The book is designed to be a brief introduction, and Ball's presentation should inspire the curious reader to track down more information.
My more important complaints:
(1) Some of the "brain teasers" are really just smart aleck riddles about how we interpret everyday speech--e.g., "How many birthdays does the average man have?" (Answer: One) or "How is it possible to push a large doughnut through a cup handle?" (Answer: Poke your finger through the handle and give it a push!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this book for my math-loving 7-year-old, but everyone in the family has made use of it. It has all kinds of interesting information about numbers, including... Read morePublished 16 days ago by Nerdy Mommy
Outstanding!!! One of our favorite books of all time! My oldest child received this book years ago and it has been passed down to each child and has been loved by each one. Read morePublished 2 months ago by J.T.
Disappointed. Neither fun nor entertaining. Only superficially educational.Published 11 months ago by Mom with Ph.D.
Loved this book for my 6th grade son, who needed to see math grounded in "reality." He endured the history portions in order to get to the quirky facts and especially the... Read morePublished 13 months ago by D. B. Gregg