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Square Bear and his Friends Teach Us All about Polygons

Polygon. Sounds difficult. But it’s just one of those befuddling terms mathematicians use to mystify a simple concept. In the fairytale Square Bear the Polygon Princess is constructed of polygons. So are the handsome Triangle Prince and his faithful steed, Rectangle Horse. Square Bear is made of very special polygons. In this session, we read a story about these polygons and create our own polygon characters; all we need is a pencil, a straight edge—like a ruler—and a piece of paper. Then we name our characters and write our own story.

M. W. Penn

45 Minute Program



Enter the imaginary Polygon Forest through a picture book story and learn that a polygon is a shape that exists in a plane. Think flat. A polygon has only two dimensions, length and width. It has no depth. None. Like the pictures on the pages of this story.

A square is a special polygon, and the sweet, funny Square Bear is made entirely of Squares. Triangle Prince is made of another set of polygons, those with three sides and three angles. Rectangle Horse? Yes, all rectangles. The beautiful Polygon Princess is made of many, many different polygons. The fierce Disk Dragon, though, is not a polygon. He’s two dimensional, but not all shapes in a plane are polygons. So Disk Dragon shouldn’t be in the Polygon Forest. No way!

After we read this story, children can find polygons everywhere around them, then put their imaginations to work to create their own polygon characters and write their own polygon tales.

About the Author

An engaging story, a rollicking rhyme, a riddle in a poem, a basic concept of mathematics…. WAIT. Stop right there. We all love the joys of literature: a good story, a bouncy rhyme. But polygons? Computation? FRACTIONS? MW Penn is an award winning author and poet, and also a mathematician who designed software systems for AT&T, the University of Florida and the FDA. Now she writes children’s books centered on basic concepts of mathematics with titles such as Square Bear, a fairy tale of polygons; Sidney the Silly Who Only Eats 6, an award winning story of number comparison; Peter Pattern, who explores pattern and order; and the Capstone series, Pebble Math.

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Other Programs from M. W. Penn

Peter Pattern Teaches Children to Recognize and Mimic Pattern

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That’s not a Beagle, a Silly Study of Attributes

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Read a Story in Rhyme and Compare Numbers with Sidney the Silly Who Only Eats 6

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