27th April 2001 at 01:00
The Easter subject conferences give publishers and suppliers a showcase for new materials.This year, 'TES' reviewers joined modern language teachers, geographers and mathematicians to select highlights: Tandi Clausen-May at the Association of Teachers of Mathematics conference, Chester College.

* MAKE A BIGGER PUDDLE, MAKE A SMALLER WORM. By Marion Walter. pound;8.81 from Beam Education. Tel: 020 7684 3323.

This book, reissued a quarter of a century after it first appeared, is as appealing and engaging as ever. The curious pictures and designs of puddles, worms, fish, boats, monsters and the rest may be reflected and transformed with the sturdy card mirror tucked into a pocket in the front cover.

This practical, hands-on approach offers a valuable introduction to reflection, and may lead children to design their own patterns and pictures.

* A CARIBBEAN COUNTING BOOK. By Faustin Charles Illustrated by Roberta Arenson. Barefoot Books pound;4.99.

Books about mathematics from "other cultures" run the risk of appearing superficial or patronising. A random collection of puzzles or activities taken out of context has little to recommend it. But this book of counting rhymes from around the Caribbean, first published in 1996, avoids such traps.

With their colloquial style and unfamiliar references, some of the rhymes in this little book may need an explanation from the teacher - or perhaps from a better-informed pupil - but A Caribbean Counting Book offers a useful contribution towards a genuinely multicultural approach to mathematics in the primary classroom.

* SHIRTS AND SKIRTS. By Calvin Irons. Illustrated by Pat Reynolds. Kingscourt Publishing. Big book pound;14.95. Stanard book pound;1.75. Audio cassette pound;4.95. Tel: 0800 317457.

If complex ideas are presented in an appropriate way they can be brought within the reach of young children. Here, author and illustrator have created a simple story to stimulate key stage 1 pupils to explore ways of combining articles of clothing. The big book version comes with cut-out clothes that teachers can use to demonstrate the activities.

The book offers a useful and entertaining introduction to some of the concepts that will eventually contribute to a sound understanding of "possible outcomes" and probability.

Active Ideas for use with... Digit CardsNumber SquaresCounting SticksPlace * VALUE GRIDS AND ARROW CARDS. By Bill Bairstow and Roger Bird. pound;4.95 each from TTS Limited. Tel: 01773 830255.

Teachers have always used a range of teaching aids to make mathematics meaningful to their pupils, and the advent of the national numeracy strategy has confirmed the place of such aids in the classroom.

The four books in this series will help primary and lower secondary teachers to make even better use of these already familiar resources and materials.

* MATHEMATICAL TREASURE HUNTS. By Vivian Lucas. pound;4.50 from Tarquin Publications. Tel: 01379 384 218 www.tarquin-books

This book explains how to structure a series of linked puzzle clues: the answer to each clue leads pupils to seek out and solve the next puzzle. Six examples are given of complete treasure hunts with between six and 24 clues. The clues rely heavily on routine computations, but perhaps the real interest of the approach lies in enabling pupils to work together to devise their own mathematical treasure hunts.

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