Growing math minds... Changing math mindsets
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Back to Children's Literature
Captain Invincible and the Space Shapes
Biggest, Strongest, Fastest
by Steve Jenkins
As the title suggests, this books gives examples of the worldrecord holding animals in categories such as tallest, longest, strongest, etc. Many of the illustrations compare the animal to a human.
Biggest, Strongest, Fastest:
Full Book Review (English)
Full Book Review (Spanish)
Brief Book Review (English)
Brief Book Review (Spanish)
*Spanish versions coming soon!
Who can win a foot race with a cheetah?
Math Connections:
Comparison Measurement
Ratio
Activities to Do Together:

Discuss comparison words and how the meaning changes with the suffix. For example big, bigger, and biggest;

Compare the heights of three people the child knows: Hanna is tall, Mom is taller, and Dad is tallest.

You can also use this book to talk about the different attributes we measure: height, weight, speed, strength, etc.

Introduce ratios such as speed. We measure the speed of a cheetah in miles per hour  how many miles a cheetah could travel in one hour.

Measure different features of objects around your home or neighborhood.

Compare weights of different foods at the grocery store.
Extension Questions:

Design a new animal who could break one of the records discussed in the book. Describe your animal in detail. Draw a picture of your animal and name it. What type of animal is it? What record does it break?

The land snail moves about 8 inches in one minute. How long would it take to go across your desk/table? How did you get your answer?

A flea can jump about 8 inches upward in a single jump. How many jumps would the flea have to make to land on Miss Entomologist’s head (she is 64 inches tall)?

If an African Elephant eats threehundred pounds of grass and leaves every day, how many pounds of grass and leaves can she eat in two days? One week? One month? Explain how you know.
Vocabulary for Building Math Concepts:
average, bigger, biggest, dime, faster, fastest, five times, half, half an hour, height, hundred, largest, less than, longest, measured, mile, miles per hour, minute, ounce, pounds, shorter, slowest, smaller, smallest, speeds, strongest, tallest, teaspoon, twice