Sunday, July 24, 2011

Top 10 Picture Books That Teach Math

1.) Guinea Pigs Add Up by Margery Cuyler. This is a funny book about after getting one guinea pig for class pet the class feels the pet is lonely, and the ask the teacher to get it a friend. Oops! The new guinea pig friend turns out to be a SHE! What starts out as two adds up to twenty and then as the animals get adopted the subtraction begins.

2.) Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews. This is a very primary book that would be great even for your preschoolers to start the idea of counting to ten. There are many ways to make it more interactive. I have heard of using poms with the book. I used black buttons with my preschooler, since he has a collection of them. I have also seen some really cute lesson plans with kindergartners that use this book as well.

3.) The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns. This is a great book to introduce geometric shapes. The story is about a triangle that feels life would be better if it could be different shapes, so it finds a shapeshifter and turn into polygons, quadrilateral, hexagons, etc. You can watch a video of this story online too. Two lessons I want to try with this is making a shape prop made from 8 pieces of cardboard and brad fasteners. The prop will allow me to change shapes as we read the book. I got the idea for the prop from Lynn Sherman, for details on how to make it go here. Another great activity would be for students to make a geometry shape book from the shapes discussed in the book. Lastly, there is a beautiful art project you can make that I found at Superheroes and Princesses  blog.

4.) Math for All Seasons by Greg Tang. Tang makes many wonderful books of math riddles and I recommend all of them. He does a wonderful job using rhyming, simple addition and subtraction, patterns, and more. Each of the pages in his book typically stand on their own so you can do short lessons for the easily distracted.

5.) Mission Addition by Loreen Leedy. A class solves addition mysteries in six different cases. The answers are at the back of the book. The single digit addition is explained in detail and the book almost has a comic book vibe to it. Engaging to any child.

6.) How Many Blue Birds Flew Away by Paul Giganti, Jr. This is another author that does a lot of math picture books. I also really like his book Each Orange Had 8 Slices. I chose the Blue Birds because this book looks at subtraction. One thing I like is after reading a problem he ask questions that are easily answered if the child was listening. He uses those answers to help the child think about the more difficult question being asked.

7.) Spaghetti and Meatballs For All by Marilyn Burns. I know I have already used this author but this is a great book. It is about Mr. and Mrs. Comfort that are going to have a family reunion and serve dinner. There are 32 guests invited with only 8 tables. The problem is when guest come Mr. Comfort and the guest rearrange the table and there isn't 32 seats left. I liked the fact that the Mrs. was the math genius in the story and how I could relate to nobody listening to her. My five year old used squares I cut as table manipulatives. To finish the study serve spaghetti and meatballs.

8.) The M&M Counting Book by Barbara McGrath. Some criticize this book because of the blatant advertisement, so if that bugs you try a different book. Better yet, try these activities with something else in its place, rather than M&Ms. Each child only gets 12 pieces and what an awesome reward for sorting, counting, shape building and doing multiples of 12 by arranging the candy into different groupings. The eating doesn't come until the end when they get to subtract. Added plus-Mommy gets to eat whatever is left over in the bag.

8.) One Hundred Hungry Ants by Elinor Pinczes. This is a cute book about 100 ants marching to a picnic. They keep forming different lines (2 of 50, 4 of 25, and 10 of 10). Their constant line changing makes them late to the picnic. A nice way to introduce 100 and even coins. The book suggests using black beans as ants for math manipulatives.

9.)Grandfather Tang's Story by Ann Tompert, This is a Chinese folk tale about two fox fairies compete in changing shapes into seven different tangram animals. The book does have a page where you can trace out the tangram shapes so your child  can make the animals. You can also buy tangrams for under $10. I also have a tangram app on my KnookColor I got for $3.99 for "A" to play with. Tangrams are a challenge but the problem solving is beneficial to say the least.

10.) Anno's Magic Seeds by Mitsumasa Anno. Another story told as a folk tale about a man named Jack who is given two magic seeds. He is told to eat one and plant the other. The seed he plants will double the next year. Then one year he decides to plant both. Then a progression of doubles emerges. Anno has many math books as well that would be good to check out.

*Note to Teachers: If you haven't seen the Math and Literature books edited by Toby Gordon I highly recommend them. There are ones for grades K-1, 2-3, 4-6, and 6-8 with different authors writing each. I know Marilyn Burns writes the younger grade ones. Each book chooses ten books and has lesson plans for each one. Some of the books mentioned above are highlighted in their books. I love them and they are a must for my professional library.

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