Monday, April 14, 2014

Math and Literature

Most things are made better by a good picture book.  I recently learned of another way of thinking about using books in Math class.  Jeffery Shih and Cyndi Giorgis, a Math education professor and a Children's literature scholar respectively,  have a framework that I appreciate. 

The first level consists of books mostly about math, with very little story.  Their purpose seems to be, and often is, just to teach math. Some titles new to me are:

Mice Mischief

A Million Dots

The second level includes books with the mathematics embedded AND the qualities we love about picture books.  They have an engaging plot, endearing characters, language that delights us or illustrations that captivate. An understanding of the mathematics will enhance the understanding of the story. Giorgis and Shih say that it is important for students to experience math within a context. A context that matters. That has quality picture books written all over it. Books I can't wait to get a closer look at:

Edgar Allan Poe's Pie
Have You Seen My Dragon?

The Rabbit Problem

The Boy Who Loved Math

The final category was described as books with the potential for mathematics in them.  As Dr. Giorgis said, this could include almost anything.  Both professors stressed enjoying all books for themselves (especially categories 1 and 2) and not jumping to the math too quickly.  

Some of their suggestions in this category that were new to me included:

Building Our House


Stay tuned for the full bibliography from each category.  

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