Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday Math Literature Volume 37

Last week, I showed you a lesson out of this book based on a great story about the number 1000.  Today I want to share with you another favorite out of this book.


This is a great resource that will help you get even more out of your math literature collection.


This book is full of activities that go along with 20 different books at the grade 3-5 level.  They also have similar books for grades K-2 and grades 6-8.

This lesson is based on this great story


This book is part of a series of animal math books written by Ann Whitehead Nagda.  My other favorites in this series include Polar Bear Math and Chimp Math.


This book is all about a baby tiger named T.J. who was born in a Zoo and has a hard time gaining weight and growing at a steady rate.  On the right hand pages, it tells the story of T.J. and shows some very cute pictures.  On the left hand pages, it shows graphs that support the data found in the story.  The graphs include bar graphs, line graphs and pictographs.  I did this lesson with a class of third graders but it would also work well in grades 2-5.

The lesson from the Math And Nonfiction books starts by having you read the story to the kids.  The lesson plan has you just read the right hand pages and not even show the left hand pages, but my students were so into the data and so engaged by the story, that I did show some of the graphs on the left.  While we were reading the story and looking at some of the graphs we had a very rich discussion about how the slope of the graph reflected weight gain and loss and how the steepness corresponded to how quickly or slowly his weight was changing.

After reading the story, the kids we so into the story of T.J.  I knew I had them hooked.  The lesson from the Math and Nonfiction book did some really creative things from here.

First, I showed a pictograph from the beginning of the story.  This is one graph I made sure I didn't show them when reading the story.  I covered much of it up with sticky notes.

A peak at part of the graph.  
Students had to think about what the graph was showing and what other information we were missing.  As they thought of something else on the graph, I removed another sticky note.  Once the graph was revealed in its entirety, I had 13 kids represent the different kinds of tigers and we made a human pictograph in the middle of the classroom.  Each kid represented 500 tigers just like each tiger picture in the pictograph represents 500 tigers.

Kids graph themselves by tiger type.  Extra kids got to be tiger wranglers and help me line everyone up

Here is where I was super impressed with this lesson.  The kids moved into one long line and then closed the line into a circle to make a circle graph.  I had never thought about making this connection for kids between a pictograph and a circle graph.  It worked very well and the kids were so impressed.

After the kids moved from a line into a circle, I had them stand shoulder to shoulder and then sit down. We used meter sticks to make the partitions between the different groups of tigers.    
We had a quick discussion about how the graphs were similar and which one showed the data better.  Kids had great insights to share like noticing how it was easier to see that more than half the tigers were Bengal tigers in the circle graph than the pictograph.

How do you use your math literature collection to enhance and enrich your students' mathematical understanding?

15 comments:

  1. I love how concrete you made the circle graph for them. Brilliant!
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

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    1. I think it is brilliant as well! It had never occurred to me to try something like this with third graders. I need to keep using this great math and nonfiction book because it is really helping me take my math literature collection to the next level. I have 5 other similar books as well so there are a lot of lessons to get me thinking!

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  2. Just lovely! I am sure you enjoyed the ahha you saw in their eyes. Thanks for sharing

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    1. Seeing the ahha is my favorite part of teaching.

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  3. It was fun seeing how you used this lesson with your students. It's always been a favorite of mine! Glad you're enjoying the book. : )
    Stephanie Sheffield

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    1. It is a great book! Thanks for writing it. I am so honored you stopped by my blog:)

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  4. What a great idea! I'm using that!!!

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  5. Love! Thank you for sharing. I am going to look for a copy of this book today :)

    Mrs. B

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  6. Never to old for this idea. I may use this with my fifth graders at the beginning of the year with their interests. Love the crossover between graphs and engagement.

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    1. This would make a GREAT beginning of the year activity!

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  7. This is amazing! Just trying to understand how it works - in order to implement lessons would I need to buy both the resource book and the story books?

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    1. Yes! Many of the story books in the resource books are going to be things you already have in your classroom or school library. This Tiger Math book is much more specific than the other books in the resource book.

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  8. I love this! I never thought of using the kids for a circle graph,but I love that idea.Thank you so much for sharing!

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