Thursday, July 28, 2011

Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci

Title: Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci
Author: Joseph D’Agnese
Henry Holt
Publication Date: 2010
Genre/Format: Picture book/Nonfiction/Biography

Summary: Perhaps one of the greatest Western mathematicians of all times, Leonardo Fibonacci was born in Pisa, Italy around 1170. Fibonacci was a whiz at math, in fact; he thought about numbers all of the time that he appeared to be daydreaming.  While on a trip with his father to a city in northern Africa, Fibonacci noticed merchants using a new numeral system borrowed from the Hindi in India, rather than the traditional Roman numerals. As an adult, Leonardo wrote a book about the Hindi-Arabic numbers, but he is most remembered for his number pattern called the Fibonacci sequence, a special numbered pattern that appears in nature.

Personal thoughts: Read Together:   grades K - 12 
Read without help: grades 4 – 12.
Read With: 
Rabbits, Rabbits Everywhere: A Fibonacci Tale (Ann McCallum, 2007); Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature (Sarah Campbell, 2010);
Snippet of Text: “You can call me Blockhead. Everyone else does. One day when I was just a boy, Maestro wrote out a math problem and gave us ten minutes to solve it. I solved it in two seconds.” (pg.5-6)
“My father took me to live in a city called Bugia in northern Africa. In my new home, I noticed the Arab merchants didn’t use Roman numerals. They used numerals they borrowed from the Hindu people of India. Back home, we wrote this: XVIII. Here, the merchants wrote this: 18. See how much easier it is? I wanted so much to learn about these numerals.” (pg. 21)

Watch the book trailer for Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci
Connections to Reading:  Activating background knowledge, Making connections, Set purposes for reading
Connections to Writing: ExpositoryDescribe how you feel about solving math problems.
Connections to Writing: Narrative(1) You have just found out Fibonacci has died. You want to honor him by writing an obituary (2) Write an Acrostic Poem
Connections to Art: (1) Draw a picture of all you know about mathematics. (2) Design a bumper sticker about Fibonacci sequence.

Connections to Science: The Fibonacci sequence emerges in nature and found in a variety of flowers and trees, generally associated with some kind of spiral structure.  For example, the leaves on a stem of a flower or a branch of a tree many times grow in a corkscrew, spiraling around the branch as new leaves form further out. Look at plants and flowers that illustrate the Fibonacci sequence: pinecones, pineapples and sunflowers.
Topics Covered: Fibonacci sequence, mathematics, mathematicians, Roman and Hindi-Arabic numbers
Translated to Spanish:  No
Translated to other languages: Japanese
Other formats: DVD (animated); audio

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the note on my book. It has been translated into Korean and Japanese. Spanish and Catalan are in the works, though not currently available. Should be soon...

    Joe D'Agnese