Friday, February 27, 2015

Winter Reading 2015 If: A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers


"If scales down big concepts and invites readers to see the world in a mind-bending new way." (from just jacket) Author David J. Smith has written other books about scale, <>If the World Were a Village and If America Were a Village, but If contains illustrations of all sorts of concepts. Everything from comparisons of the planets in the solar system, to comparing when inventions were made, are all explained and illustrated. A table of contents makes it easy to locate the comparison you are want. There are also suggested activities for teachers and parents and a list of sources. The author explains that when you are talking about such big numbers there is plenty of room for margin, but that he has used the most reliable data he could.

Some of these representations could be used with students - actually taking the objects shown in the illustrations and measuring out the distances between them to show the solar system in scale, for example. I know that those who hold a strictly Creationist view will not approve of the timelines showing the development of life on earth or the history of earth, but there are still other parts of the book that they could comfortably use. The comparisons of energy sources and energy consumption, or those for food production and consumption would make excellent social studies lessons. All of the comparisons would be useful to work on numeracy skills, as Smith states in his foreword.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Check out the book trailer.

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