Corre's Blog

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Math Stories

Story hour at Collins Playground, Seattle, ca. 1912

One observation that I have made, throughout my career, is that students regardless of the grade,  Kindergarten to Grade 6, LOVE to be read to.

This year Language Arts is not part of my teaching assignment  thus I have focused my read aloud selections on cross curricular connections that I can make to the Math, Science, Health and  Art curriculums.

I have found great success incorporating picture books into my anticipatory sets for my math lessons.  I often start my lessons with a story that relates to the math concept we are working on.  Typically my students finish a snack as I start the story. By the time I make it to page 4 they have their snack packed away and have  whiteboards and markers ready to tackle the math presented in the book.  Many of the books listed below have questions for the students to answer incorporated into the story while others require the teacher to  stop at appropriate times and  ask  students to solve related math problems.   For each math questions my student show their strategy and answer on their whiteboard, compare their thinking with a partner and then we share the strategies.    The books listed below are great at increasing the complexity of the problems as the stories continue.  For most books, I have been amazed how engaged my students are in both listening and developing strategies that they apply in attempt to solve the  problems.

My students especially loved books like Anno’s Magic Seed because it threw twists into the story that  required multiple operations and calulations.  It was great to see my students share their work on white board and engaging each other in conversations about the story.  By the end of the book my studetns were completing multi-step calulations and loving it!

Most of these books came from lists that I found online. After putting my own filter on the lengthy list, here are my top seven books for our  multiplication unit:

  1. Anno’s Mysterious Multiplying Jar – Mitsumasa Anno
  2. Anno’s Magic Seed– Mitsumasa Anno
  3. One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale – Demi
  4. Amanda Bean’s Amazing Dream: A Mathematical Story – Cindy
  5. 365 Penguins – Jean Luc Fromental
  6. The Best of Times: Math Strategies That Multiply – by Greg Tang
  7. Minnie’s Diner: A Multiplying Menu – Dayle Ann Dodds

I know that this is by no means a complete list and like with everything else I am still learning and adding to my repertoire.  Each new math unit will bring new stories! I look forward to exploring “shape” books as we embark on our new unit next month.

I would be excited to hear about any math books that you have used to teach upper elementary math lessons.


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2 thoughts on “Math Stories

  1. My 8th grade math students love it when I read to them! The Sir Cumference books and “What’s Your Angle Pythagoras?” are favorites.

  2. Great post, Corre! I love using read alouds in math too, as they make a great anticipatory set and application to concepts. Thanks for sharing some of the ones you’ve used in the list! My grade 3’s enjoyed “The Doorbell Rang” by Pat Hutchins, as I introduced the concept of division. Thanks for sharing.

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