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Spaghetti and Meatballs for All !: A Mathematical Story

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2001

    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. 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. Fr

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2008

    Area & Perimeter

    Mr. & Mrs. Comfort decice to have a family reunion. The dinner takes a lot of planning. Thirty two people will attend the party. Mrs. Comfort decides to have 8 square tables with 4 people at each table.The guest arrive and start moving the tables. The book uses humor tohave students start thing about area & perimeter. As A teacher I enjoyed this book. It also contained pages of activities the students could see how perimeter and area is used in the real world. You can also get a teacher's guide with more activities .Gary Dominicus

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2009

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