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103 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Variable Perimeters and Fun, Practical Problem-Solving
Ah! If spatial relations had been taught like this when we were all young, everyone would be fluent mathematically.
Instead of all those problems about two trains rushing towards one another, this book takes a practial problem and uses it to illuminate spatial problem-solving.
Mr. and Mrs. Comfort decide to invite their family and neighbors over for dinner...
Published on March 21, 2001 by Donald Mitchell

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0 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Arrived in bad shape-no invoice to return it
This is the first item I received from Amazon that arrived in bad shape (paperback book bent all up) and did not have an invoice to send back. It was in different packaging than normal for Amazon-it was a brown heavy paper folder that was massacred in shipping- usually they come in boxes and have an additional cardboard piece to protect them. I am putting weights on the...
Published on March 28, 2012 by M. Ahlborn


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103 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Variable Perimeters and Fun, Practical Problem-Solving, March 21, 2001
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
Ah! If spatial relations had been taught like this when we were all young, everyone would be fluent mathematically.
Instead of all those problems about two trains rushing towards one another, this book takes a practial problem and uses it to illuminate spatial problem-solving.
Mr. and Mrs. Comfort decide to invite their family and neighbors over for dinner. Pretty soon, 30 people have accepted so they will be feeding 32, including themselves. In a role reversal from the sexual stereotypes, Mr. Comfort is the cook and impractical one while Mrs. Comfort is the left-brained problem solver. She knows what needs to be done, but everyone else has to work it out for themselves by moving the furniture around.
Mrs. Comfort figures out that they don't have enough tables and chairs for this many people. So she rents some. She correctly figures out that 8 tables seating four people each will do the trick (8 times 4). She rents 8 tables and 32 chairs (but they deliver only 31, and she has to find an extra folding chair).
All is well, until the guests start to arrive. They don't want to sit at separate tables. They want to eat at one big table so they can be closer to everyone else.
That creates a problem. Each time two tables for four are put together, two places are lost (you now have only two ends, while you had four before with separate tables). That's not immediately obvious to the guests, because most of the chairs and tables are unused in the beginning and they don't know how many people are coming.
Mrs. Comfort tries to warn everyone that it won't work, but they ignore her. She finally gives up.
When most of the people arrive, there are not enough places for them at the table (even though there are enough chairs), so they begin pulling the tables apart from one another.
Sure enough, in the end, the guests are seated at 8 separate tables for four. Isn't logic wonderful?
Mrs. Comfort could have ordered more tables and had everyone sit closer to one other. But she wanted to save money. That makes sense, doesn't it?
There is an adult's guide in the end for how to work with your child to make this a problem that she or he can work on. The suggestion is to make 8 little cut-out squares, and to move them into different configurations to handle the various numbers of guests. From this, the child can see that the perimeter varies for the same area, depending on how the area is configured. That lesson will never need to be taught again.
You can also use some of the cooking quantities in here to do math as well. Assuming the children eat so much, and the adults so much, how much will be left over of the meat balls?
Having seen how such a problem can be constructed, I suggest that you develop your own story puzzles. I can guarantee that your child will remember you as a cross between Einstein and Diderot if you do. Here's a hint: How would you go about planning a trip for your family if you were going to have to use frequent flyer miles and the number of miles you had to use varied with when you flew? You can complicate that one for older children by introducing variables like the cost of hotel room nights and car rental days, and having a fixed number of frequent flyer miles to work with in order to find the solution that optimizes the trip and its cost.
But I'm sure you will have even better ideas!
Math teachers: This book will bring the gladness back into your heart, as well as create dedicated, happy students. Do yourself and your students a favor and use this book as a teaching aid.
Think carefully about the periphery to get to the heart of the matter!
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Area, perimeter, and multiplication for all!, November 15, 2004
By 
Michele (Vail, Azerbaijan) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I am a student at the University of Arizona South, majoring in elementary education. I recently read this book to a class of 3rd grade students. The children anjoyed watching as the guests arrived at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Comfort and re-arranged the tables and chairs each time someone else showed up. They also enjoyed the fact that only Mr. and Mrs. Comfort's names were given and everyone else was referred to by their relation to the hosts, "Mrs. Comfort's brother's daughter's twin sons". The children loved the chaos as more and more people arrived and fewer and fewer place settings were left available, while "extra" chairs piled up in the periphery. Every student was engaged in the book because each and every one of them knew what Mrs. Comfort knew, that without a seating arrangement of eight seperate tables each seating four people, there would not be enough room for everyone to sit down. And by the end of the book, they found out they were right! The extensions available at the end of the story increase the possible learning to be attained, illustrating how to actively engage the children in hands-on activities to learn about area, perimeter, multiplication and division. Children can find out how many seats are available for each table formation in the book. They can also determine how many meatballs everyone can eat. This is a lively and interesting tale that evolves into spirited and animated discussions involving mathematical concepts. The children had a wonderful time listening to the story, then engaging and actively participating with their eight squares and 32 paper clips (tables and chairs) as we went through the story page by page with them arranging and re-arranging the seating. It was fantastic to see them so happily involved with LEARNING MATH!
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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My students thought it was "awesome", March 12, 1999
By A Customer
I used it in my 4th grade classroom as the basis of a formal observation by my prinical. The kids were enthralled by the book and activities I made using this book to reinforce ideas about area and perimeter. Just as important, my principal liked it too!
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hands on Book for the Creative Minded, August 27, 2003
By 
penumbrook "penumbrook" (Honolulu, HI United States) - See all my reviews
I just used this book to teach my daughter (8) and son (5) the same exact lesson on two different cognitive levels. Late last night, I sat down with a paint program and drew two diagrams just like Mrs. Comfort's. I folded and cut a piece of paper into eight squares of approximately the same size. I used multicolored paper clips as chairs. Tonight, we had so much fun that we spent almost five minutes per page, counting guests as they arrived, counting chairs as they dissapeared and reappeared from around the table perimeters and following the detailed chaos as garlic bread, salads, vases and pasta flew around the room. I have one question. Did Mrs. Comfort get the last meatball?
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for introducing perimeter and area!, January 23, 1998
By A Customer
This book is an excellent tool for introducing perimeter and area to an elementary school class. The story is engaging and funny. The children can easily move colored tiles to imitate the movement of the tables in the story.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pima Community College- Student Review, March 10, 2005
I read this book to my sister's kids (ages 4-8) and they all really enjoyed it. They had a lot of fun with the story (and didn't even know they were learning). This book is great for kids.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!, December 15, 2009
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This review is from: Spaghetti And Meatballs For All! (Scholastic Bookshelf: Math Skills) (Paperback)
I have used this book for years so I needed a new copy. This is a great way to teach kids about area. It can also be used to discuss arrays.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book for a math class, June 8, 2013
By 
Amy A. Kinseth (San Diego, CA, US) - See all my reviews
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I bought this book to accompany my new Common Core geometry unit. It went beautifully. I read most of the book to the kids, then I assigned the seating chart as homework. What's the best configuration? The next day, I had kids share their ideas on the doc cam, and after kids shared, I read the end of the book. Nice discussion starter.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, July 9, 2014
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This review is from: Spaghetti And Meatballs For All! (Scholastic Bookshelf: Math Skills) (Paperback)
Great book for introducing math concepts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Math, June 25, 2014
By 
Roma Rees (GRAND ISLAND, NE, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Spaghetti And Meatballs For All! (Scholastic Bookshelf: Math Skills) (Paperback)
This is an excellent book to teach perimeter to children. It supplies the teacher with hands-on activities and can be used at multiple levels (even 1st graders!)
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Spaghetti And Meatballs For All! (Scholastic Bookshelf: Math Skills)
Spaghetti And Meatballs For All! (Scholastic Bookshelf: Math Skills) by Marilyn Burns (Paperback - August 1, 2008)
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