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Math and Literature Idea Bank
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Online Resources for Connecting Math and Children's Books

Here are some good resources recommended in the November 2004 News Bulletin of the NCTM:

How to Use Children's Literature to Teach Mathematics
This downloadable NCTM booklet connects NCTM's Standards with children's literature.

Mathematics and Children's Literature
This collection of five lessons on the NCTM Illuminations website uses children's books to teach math topics ranging from algebraic thinking in the primary grades to data analysis, geometry, and measurement.

Mathematics and Children's Literature (links)
This page of links to literature is organized in a table by math topics and age ranges.

Draw a Math Story: From the Concrete to the Symbolic
This activity uses math literature as a model for students to write their own stories incorporating addition and subtraction.

Resource Books for Teachers

These books are available online through Amazon or NCTM. NCTM phone orders may be placed through (800) 235-7566, or use the links to specific resources below.

Exploring Mathematics through Literature: Articles and Lessons for Prekindergarten through Grade 8
This collection of articles and lessons illustrates how specific literary titles can support each of the five content standards.
(Order through Amazon or through NCTM with optional member discount.)

New Visions for Linking Literature and Mathematics
This resource book connects children's literature to a broad range of math topics in grades K - 6.
(Order through Amazon or through NCTM with optional member discount.)

The Wonderful World of Mathematics (Second Edition, 1998)
This book analyzes 550 children's books in terms of math content, writing style, activities, and illustrations.
(Order through Amazon or through NCTM with optional member discount.)

Math Is Language Too: Talking and Writing in the Mathematics Classroom
This book describes four years in a 4th-grade class in which talking and writing were an important part of mathematical explorations.
(Order through Amazon or through NCTM with optional member discount.)

Math Literature, Anyone?

> What literature do you use with math? For which concept?
> How do you relate it to the concept? Do you have a lesson?
> Thanks for the help!
> Mae in Texas

Well, this is a pretty broad concept....but, for instance, I like the book
Bunches and Bunches of Bunnies to help teach multiplication concept to my third graders....also, the
Pigs Will Be Pigs series are excellent, funny books that my students always love that teach about money, measurement, and time.
[ see also: Pigs on a Blanket: Fun With Math and Time
Pigs Go to Market: Fun With Math and Shopping and
Pigs in the Pantry: Fun With Math and Cooking ]

The Doorbell Rang is a great book to introduce division. So, as you can see, the possibilities are almost endless! Talk to your local librarian to see if she can give you more ideas about connecting math and literature.

Debbie B. on math board

- - - - -

You can use this great book:

Sir Cumference and the First Round Table, by Wayne Geehan, illustrated by Cindy Neuschwander
A math adventure that integrates math and literature.

Gisele, on math board

Math Literature and Graphing Activities

> I will soon be a student teacher. In my method class for
> math I was instructed to create a book lesson integrating
> math. I want to use Harriet's Halloween Candy by Nancy
> Carlson, since it will be Halloween when I present this to
> my class... I thought I would begin my lesson by reading the book,
> then demonstrate what they would be doing. I am going to
> tell everyone that they will all get a bag of candy, then
> when you get the candy, I want you to sort it out into
> different groups such as tootsie rolls, etc., then color in
> graph of the amount of candy you have. ( I am showing them
> as I am talking) How does that sound?
> Wendy

Your thoughts are well thought out...
Other things might be graph what they have sorted or create Venn diagrams of the candy -- those with wrappers, such as Toostie Rolls and those without wrappers, such as apples. Another great Math and Literature book is Cook-a-Doodle Doo! by Janet Stevens and her sister, Susan Stevens Crummel. I read this one to a graduate math class this summer that I taught. The hall outside my classroom was being painted by a professional painter. He got so wrapped up in my reading the book, that he told the first person out the classroom door that he had almost fallen off the scaffolding, because he was laughing so HARD!

KathyB/1st/IA, on math board

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Best of luck when you present your lesson. I'd like to suggest some further ideas in a different format which you may or may not find helpful.

Integrating math with Harriet means not only sorting and graphing, which is good, but also how can you tie the feelings of selfishness and greediness into your lesson, which I believe is the lesson Nancy Carlson wants the reader to explore. Here's an idea:

Choose the attributes you want the students to work with (i.e. size, color, shape, etc.) and fill the bags with any and everything (not just candy) that can be sorted like this. (As candy is expensive, not very reusable, would probably take some of your young students off task just thinking about eating it, you might use different macaronis, shell beans, attribute or fraction blocks, some hard/soft candies with,w/out wrappers, paper clips, marbles, etc. -- the more creative the better!) Be careful that what you put in bags can easily be sorted into the attributes you work with in your lesson: you may only want to focus on size and color, for example, and fill as many bags as you have students. Put these bags into larger bags so that you end up with one huge bag!

Hand this bag to one person - what do others think? I'm sure you'll hear, "That's not fair;" talk about why and what would be fair. Also, tell that one person that s/he will have to do all of the work. Discuss briefly and then go on to give everyone their own bags.

Go on to sort, graph, diagram (using rope circles on the floor works good and working in groups helps).

Then read the book, drawing on students' experiences and how they felt when doing the math lesson and tie it with Harriet and her brother's feelings, summing up similarities/differences.

Math - In another math lesson, they can go on to make different graphs with different/more attributes.
Science - they can weigh and measure what's on their charts.
Writing - they might draw/write story (sad to happy, selfish to caring/working together).
Reading - choose other books with similar message.

I don't know what timeframe you have, but this is something that can go the whole morning/day, tying it all together through many subject areas. I hope this gives you a few more ideas.

Good luck, em, on math board

Animal Math Literature for Younger Children

> Any ideas for math lessons that also teach children
> something about animals? For Kindergarten? Thanks!

I Went Walking by Sue Williams
Let's Go Visiting by Sue Williams

Both talk about farm animals. The second one is about farm animal babies and counting numbers. Then you could create your own versions by getting into other animals and their babies. These books might help.

Over in the Meadow has many variations:

Over in the Meadow (Voyager Book) by John Langstaff, Feodor Rojankosky (Illustrator)

Other great versions and related titles:

Over in the Meadow: An Old Nursery Counting Rhyme (Books for Young Readers) by Paul Galdone, Jack Galdone

Over in the Meadow (Picture Books) by Ezra Jack Keats

Earthsong: Based on the Popular Song "Over in the Endangered Meadow"
by Sally Rogers, Melissa Bay Mathis (Illustrator)

Frog Went A-Courtin' by John Langstaff, Feodor Rojankovsky(Illustrator)

Oh, A-Hunting We Will Go by John Langstaff, Nancy W. Parker (Illustrator)

Over the Steamy Swamp by Paul Geraghty. Paperback (March 1995)

KathyB/1st/IA, on primary elementary board

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