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How can I teach mathematics using literature?

A primary teacher writes:

"At my school, most of the emphasis is placed on reading. For example, we have a balanced literacy block of 150 minutes, which includes, guided reading, shared reading, journal writing etc. How can I incorporate math during that time?"

A middle school teacher writes:

"The team of teachers that I am working with this year has decided to study the classic A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. Being the math teacher I am having a hard time coming up with activities to tie in to this piece of literature. If anyone has done some activities or has some ideas and would be willing to share, I would greatly appreciate it."

A high school volunteer writes:

"I am helping a high school trying to bring up test scores. As a volunteer, I said I would look at the Internet to find books and articles that would have math themes or math involved in the story-line. Someone had suggested "Alice in Wonderland." Can you suggest others?"

K-12 teachers are seeking ways to connect mathematics and literature. Here are ideas and resources to use in your classrooms:

   T2T discussion about mathematics and literature:

Children's literature and mathematics
Can children learn mathematics through children's books? ...view discussion>>

Children's literature and multiplication
What titles in children's literature can be integrated into the teaching of the multiplication concept? ...view discussion>>

Integrating literature into math
I am helping a high school trying to bring up test scores. As a volunteer, I said I would look at the Internet to find books and articles that would have math themes or math involved in the story-line. Someone had suggested "Alice in Wonderland." Can you suggest others? ...view discussion>>

Integrating math/literature
I am having trouble finding short stories to use to link to math. Particularly, I would like to teach 3 different skills to the same grade level class. I am studying to be an elementary teacher and was wondering if there is a place I could go to find some books that may help me in designing this lesson. It can be for K-5 but I must teach 3 math skills to one grade level from the book. ...view discussion>>

Interdisciplinary topics
The team of teachers that I am working with this year has decided to study the classic A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. Being the math teacher I am having a hard time coming up with activities to tie in to this piece of literature. If anyone has done some activities or has some ideas and would be willing to share, I would greatly appreciate it. ...view discussion>>

Math and literature
Since I am a reading minor, I have numerous ideas for Language Arts and Social Studies, but I cannot think of a way to link literature to math beyond the first grade level. Are there trade books that I could use and what other ideas might be helpful? ...view discussion>>

Math literature
I am looking for math literature to be used in conjunction with a measurement unit for fourth grade students. Students will be studying metric and standard measurement. ...view discussion>>

Strategies for incorporating math and literature
At my school, most of the emphasis is placed on reading. For example, we have a balanced literacy block of 150 minutes, which includes, guided reading, shared reading, journal writing etc. How can I incorporate math during that time? ...view discussion>>


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Literature:

Students' mathematical understanding can be enhanced through literature selected for its mathematical connections. The following books are available through Amazon.com:
Alice in Quantumland : An Allegory of Quantum Physics
by Robert Gilmore

Safari Park (Mathstart)
by Stuart J. Murphy, Steve Bjorkman (Illustrator)

Anno's Mysterious Multiplying Jar
by Masaichiro Anno, Mitsumasa Anno

Flatland : A Romance of Many Dimensions (Dover Thrift Editions) [UNABRIDGED]
by Edwin A. Abbott (Illustrator), Banesh Hoffmann (Introduction)

Flatterland: Like Flatland, Only More So
by Ian Stewart

How Big Is a Foot?
by Rolf Myller, Susan McCrath

The King's Chessboard (Picture Puffins)
by David Birch, Devis Grebu (Illustrator)

Math Curse
by Jon Scieszka, Lane Smith (Illustrator)

One Grain of Rice : A Mathematical Folktale
by Demi (Illustrator)

A Remainder of One
by Elinor J. Pinczes, Bonnie MacKain (Illustrator)

Spaghetti and Meatballs for All: A Mathematical Story (Marilyn Burns Brainy Day Books)
by Marilyn Burns, Debbie Tilley (Illustrator)

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Submit the title of a favorite book:

Do you have a favorite book that you use with your students that you would like us to add to the list to share with others?

Book title
Author(s)
Appropriate grade level
Math subject(s) addressed: Number & Operations
Algebra
Geometry
Measurement
Data Analysis & Probability
Other:
Description of your lesson:
Your name (optional)
Your email (optional)

View submissions: with annotations || categorized without annotations


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Literature collections:

Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site - Hurst, Otis
A collection of reviews of books for kids, ideas of ways to use them in the classroom, and collections of books and activities about particular subjects, curriculum areas, themes and professional topics. ...more>>

Mathematical Poetry - A Small Anthology - Kate Stange, editor
The poems of this anthology deal directly or indirectly with mathematics; some have been chosen some for their metre or structural patterns, others for their subject matter, others for amusement. Some note the differences between mathematician and poet. ...more>>

Mr. Brandenburg's List of Recommended Books on Math and Science
Guy Brandenburg compiled a list of over 140 math and science-related books, mostly recent, for his geometry students to choose from, read, and do a report on, using recommendations from others and his own reading as well. This page includes the assignment he gave to his students and also the list, organized by topic, with links to Amazon.com. The list is also available for download as a MS Word document, text file or PDF file. See also his original, alphabetical by author, list: Math Books Recommended by Mr. Brandenburg

Using Children's Literature in Mathematics - Elaine Young; University of Oklahoma
A list of children's books (with authors) that can be used in math lessons. ...more>>


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Resources on the Web:

Data Gathering and Analyzing - Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site: K-2
A sample chapter from Picturing Math by Carol Otis Hurst and Rebecca Otis (SRA/McGraw-Hill, 1996, ISBN 0-02-687367-2). "When we look up information to answer a question or to formulate new questions, we are gathering and analyzing data. ...more>>

Interdisciplinary Projects
Several interdisciplinary units developed and used by seventh grade teachers at Frisbie Middle School.

Literature for Science and Mathematics: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve - California Department of Education
This site catalogs a collection of over 1,400 science- and mathematics-related picture books, easy readers, classics, and other works of literature for children and adolescents.

Literature: Mathematics Across the Curriculum (MATC) - Dartmouth College
An NSF-funded project which strives to integrate the study of mathematics into the whole curriculum.

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