Literature and Mathematics
An investigation into how literature is used in classrooms to teach mathematical topics discovered:
Eight ways literature is used to facilitate the learning of mathematics. Below each example is presented with a brief explanation and examples of books for each use.
1. A mathematical problem is presented as part of the plot.
- The King's Chessboard The king wanted to pay a wise man for his help. The wise man was satisfied without payment, but the king insisted. The wise man asks for one grain of rice, and then double that amount for each square on a checkerboard. The king begins to pay and learns a lesson about pride.
- Pigs will be Pigs A family of pigs is out of food so they search their home for money. They collect a variety of money. How much do they have, can they eat out, and how much change will they get back?
- Ten Pennies for Candy A child has the problem of wondering what candy is affordable with ten pennies for a group of friends. A solution is modeled in the book.
2. Stimulate mathematical exploration.
- Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday Make a chart of where the money went.
- Twelve Days of Christmas Explore the use of patterns, charts, diagrams, and pictures to solve problems. How many presents.
- Thirteen Days of Halloween Explore the use of patterns, charts, diagrams, and pictures to find how many presents. Figure probability of randomly choosing one of the many present.
3. Model a mathematical creative experience.
- Anno's Counting Book Use to model counting or creating counting books.
- Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt Model making a quilt.
- Jumping the Broom Model making a star quilt block.
4. Relate mathematics to a theme of study.
- The Hundred Penny Box Theme to money.
- The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest Draw a scale diagram of a rain forest to include plants' and animals' relative sizes.
- Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing there is? Large numbers of the Universe
5. Use to introduce a mathematical activity.
- More Spaghetti I Say! (1977) Introduce sorting, counting, classification of pasta.
- The Hundred Penny Box Introduce a one hundred chart and hundred chart activities.
- Stay in Line Number sense, value of numbers
6. Use to create mathematical problems related to the text
- Moira's Birthday Introduce a study of what would be needed for a party if you invited everyone in your school K - 6.
- The Hundred Penny Box Introduce problem of what dates are more likely to be found in a collection of 100 pennies.
- A quarter from the Tooth Fairy Models ways to make twenty - five cents. Students could create other ways to make a quarter and other values of money.
7. Provide mathematical knowledge about the world.
- Biggest, Strongest, Fastest Provides information about several different animals.
8. Provide a context for mathematical assessment.
- Each Orange Slice Had 8 Slices Use to assess addition, and multiplication concepts
- NCTM journal articles written by teachers who used specific books
- Math pedagogy books for professional educators
- High quality books for preschool and primary grade students
- High quality books for middle level and above students