Review: Outdoor Math

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Outdoor Math
by Emma Adbåge

My Rating:
★★★★☆

Note: Outdoor Math will be released on April 1, 2016 by Kids Can Press. A link to pre-order is included at the bottom of this review.

During college, I spent four months in a first grade classroom in Copenhagen, Denmark. While I was abroad, I lived with a Danish host family and tutored at the Copenhagen International School. I absolutely loved my time in Denmark, and it was fascinating to get hands-on experience with Scandinavian education philosophies. One think we could absolutely learn from here in the U.S. is the Scandinavian emphasis on learning through play. That’s why I was so excited to review this new title, Outdoor Math, from Swedish author Emma Adbåge.

The original Swedish cover of Outdoor Math, from http://www.emmaadbage.com.

Outdoor Math gives a variety of strategies for incorporating math work into outdoor play. While I don’t think many students would pull this book off a shelf on their own (simply due to the word “math” in the title), I think this book could be a great resource for parents and teachers to use with children. Any opportunity to incorporate outdoor play into math lessons or math review helps children to lessen their math anxiety. I’m also a firm believer that movement can be an important part of learning, and kinesthetic lessons stick with children for a long time.

Outdoor Math incorporates strategies for reinforcing addition, time, multiplication, shapes, division, and more. For example, children may measure the length of worms using a ruler, create shapes using long rope, create patterns with acorns and leaves, and more. In addition to the different ideas suggested in the book, Adbåge has included resource pages that explain math operations using concrete examples.

Perhaps the most useful page in the book is the index, which sorts the different activities by math skill. This page will be a great resource for teachers and parents who would like to find activities that support certain teaching points. While some of the activities are unique to a certain season (like creating fractions using snow), many of the activities can be used year round, in a school yard or a backyard.

Classroom Connections

This book is a great fit for the 1st to 3rd grade age bracket. There are many ways this book could be used in the classroom.

  • Since so many of the activities require teamwork, this book could be used as a team building activity at the beginning of the year. Each group could be responsible for learning how to play one of the games. Then, students could “jigsaw” and meet with students from other groups to share out the various games and play them together.
  • These games could be incorporated throughout the year as introductory lessons to new concepts. This could help students ease their anxiety about new units of study, and instead get them excited about learning something new.

Book Information
Title: Outdoor Math
Author: Emma Adbåge
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Release Date: April 1, 2015
Price: US $15.95
Source: NetGalley – Advanced Review Copy

Find this book on:
Goodreads
Kids Can Press

Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Review Copy of this book from Kids Can Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are my own. Thanks for reading!

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