Thursday, May 23, 2013

Making the connection between literature and math (part 1)

The school year is winding down, next year’s teaching assignments are being handed out, and teachers are being asked to use up what little bit of money that is left in the budget.   As the head of the math department at my school, I often get asked about “non-classroom supply’ purchases for the math classroom.  Usually, my first go to is any type of hands-on manipulative – unfortunately these are usually too expensive for the teacher budget, so I save my department budget for them.   Next, I try to make a literature connection in the classroom.  Kids LOVE to have story-time… yes, even 8th and 9th graders (no really!)  AND the best part about books is they are completely affordable.  You can get some great deals online in places such as Amazon or you can go to your local used bookstore and pick up some great finds.  (On a side note- my Mother-in-Law owns an amazing used bookstore and I get all the amazing math literature books that I could possibly imagine!  It’s like my birthday multiple times a year!!!)
I know what you are thinking…’MissMathDork, math and literature connections?! UGH!  They must be so young… they must be so boring... They must be so… unavailable’.  Well friends, I’m here to offer you a two-part series on 10 amazing books on 10 different topics that you can EASILY use in your Upper Elementary or Middle School classroom.  AND, as if pointing you in the direction of 10 amazing books wasn’t awesome enough, I’m also providing links to amazing blog posts and TpT products from some of the great collaborators here at ATUE.  One book + multiple products = easy lesson for next year, or even now as the year is winding down! 

10 amazing math books to make a connection with in your classroom
In no particular order of preference, here are the first 5:

If you Hopped Like a Frog by David Schwartz
7 - 10 years
math connection: ratios, proportions, measurements

This book is amazingly cute and fun at the same time.  The premise of the book is connection interesting facts about animals and other creatures around us to human beings.  For example, A frog can jump 20 times it's length.  if a human being could do that, they would be able to jump from one base to another on a baseball diamond! 

Some ideas to use with If You Hopped like a Frog

Proportions Unit and Pacing Guide by 4mulaFun


Spaghetti and Meatballs for All by Marilyn Burns
4 - 8 years
math connection: perimeter, area, math skills, 

This book is one of my favorites.  While the age ranges seems low, don't let that full you.  I have used this with 8th graders working on area and perimeter before and had just as much fun with it.  In this book the family is having a reunion and they must figure out the best seating arrangements for all of their tables and chairs - they think they have a plan... and then the guests show up!

Some ideas to use with Spaghetti and Meatballs for All

Rectangle Round Up by Mr. Hughes

The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns
4 - 8 years
math connection: triangles, polygons, shapes

Love this one for teaching shapes and jumping to polygons in the real world.  This is a story of a little triangle who is sad that he only has 3 sides.  He ventures into the world and meets the shape-shifter,  only to realize that too many sides is a bad idea too!  

Some ideas to use with the Greedy Triangle

G is for Googol by David  Schwartz
8 and up
math connection: all things math!

This book is super fun! It is a math dictionary with fun facts, pictures and connections to math.  My favorite page is D is for Diamond.  WHOA!  MissMathDork a diamond is NOT a mathematical figure - how can that be your favorite page? you might ask... Well, that's why I love that page; it sets the facts straight about a diamond not being a mathematical figure!  as Mr. Schwartz says, 'we put diamond in the book so you would know that it doesn't belong here' (Schwartz, 10)

Some ideas to use with the G is for Googol
Make your own class dictionary!  (hmmm... maybe I need to do this with my kiddos next year!)

Pigs in the Pantry l by Amy Axelrod
One of MANY in the Pigs will be Pigs series!
4 and up
math connection: cooking, fractions

I absolutely LOVE this book!  It's so cute and so fun and those pigs... oh man, they are just plan adorable! This book is chocked full of a well-intending plan going very wrong.  Cooking with fractions and discovering their mistakes brings lots of laughs in the classroom!  

Some ideas to use with Pigs in the Pantry


Wooo! That was a bunch of amazing literature information thrown at you all at once!  I look forward to doing part two very soon!  And, if you all really like this idea, I'd love to do even more books over the summer.  Let me know what you think!  I'd love to hear from  you!!

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  1. I LOVE tying math and literature together. I think it is the perfect way to help students make connections as well as build background knowledge for math skills. I am going to bookmark your post for future reference!

  2. Thank you for the great book suggestions! I am hoping I can find some of these at my local Scholastic warehouse sale coming up next week.

    Eclectic Educating


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