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Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday Math Literature Volume 49

If you missed last week's post (and freebie!) about Ten Red Apples, you can check it out here!

This week, I want to share with you a piece of literature that I never had thought about using for math class. The wise ladies who wrote Math And Literature, Grades K-1 wrote about how they used this book in the classroom.  I took many ideas for this lesson from their book.  This series of books spans K-8 and is a great way to inspire you to go deeper into your literature collection for math class.  You can see my favorite lesson on graphing from the 3-5 book here!

Here is the entire collection (I have and love all of them!)


The book I want to share with you today is The Napping House

This is a book that many teachers already have in their math literature collection.  If you have not read it, it is a funny story about a mouse, a cat, a dog, a child and a granny taking a nap on a bed when a wakeful flea comes along bites the mouse who wakes the cat and you can guess what happens from there!  It is a great read aloud and very engaging for students.  But where is the math?

The math is hiding in the house.  When I finished reading the story, I asked students to help me find out how many feet live in the house.  We worked together to figure out different ways to prove this.  (I forgot to take a picture!)  Some kids wanted to draw each animal and others wanted to make a list.  Several students even suggested writing an equation.  Once we figured out that there were 18 feet in the house, I gave each student an origami house and had them figure out how many feet lived in their house.  We had a quick discussion about drawing a sketch versus drawing a detailed picture.  I made the origami houses ahead of time, but they are simple enough to make with kids as well.  Here is a video that shows you how!

One students drawing of who/what lives in their house.  

Most kids chose to draw the people and animals living in their house.  Then, I asked them to close their house and write the number of feet living in their house on the door. Then we practiced ordering numbers by putting the houses in order on the table from the smallest number of feet to the most.  I did this lesson with a smaller summer intervention group but had I done it with a full class, I might have asked them to hold their house in front of them and line up.

Now for the really fun part!  I chose the house with an 8 on it and asked kids to think about who could live in a house with 8 feet.  We brainstormed a list of several ideas as a whole group.  At this point, one kid
(who loves to write) suggested we write the names of the people living in the house and how many feet they have instead of drawing them.  Other kids really wanted to stick with drawing all the feet in the house.

After doing this as a whole group, I sent kids out to work on their own.  I gave them each one of the papers I was using for recording, had them choose any number they wanted for the number of feet on the house and get to work figuring out different ways that you can represent that number of feet. 

This student is writing the name of the people or animal that live in the house and the number of feet they have.  Notice they wrote a 14 on the house in the middle of the page.   You can grab this record sheet here!

This student is working on 10 feet in the house and is using sketches and equations to record her thinking.  
Ready to try this lesson with your students?  You can grab the recording sheet here free on Google Drive.  

The best part about this lesson is that it is so easy to differentiate.  You can use other books in place of the Napping House as well like Best Friends Sleep Over , Winter Days in the Big Woods or Clifford's Family.  Any book that has people or animals in a house would work well for this lesson.  

Head over to Deanna's blog for more great children's literature. 


  1. You have a lot of great information here ! Wow ! Thanks for sharing!
    Reading and Writing Redhead

  2. Wow, I absolutely adore this idea! Thank you so much for an amazing lesson linking literature and math!!!

    1. I love combining my two great loves, literature and math!

  3. I've never read this book! Thanks for sharing your ideas - very creative! :)

  4. I love this book but have never thought to use it with math! Thank you so much!!!
    Mrs. Spriggs’ Kindergarten Pond

    1. Me neither! These math and literature books really get me thinking more about how to use great children's literature in math class.

  5. What a fantastic lesson! I think I have this book, but not sure I've ever used it for anything in my class... now I certainly have an idea!

  6. I'm so glad everyone is enjoying the lesson from Marilyn's and my book! I originally taught this lesson in first grade, but then used it in second and third grades as well. In third grade the book The Napping House became the context for a multiplication lesson. After graphing the little houses by the number of feet in each, I had my students help me figure out a multiplication problem to represent the row of houses with 8 feet. I explained that since there were 5 houses with 8 feet in each, we could write the multiplication sentence, 5 x 8 = 40 to describe how we might find the total in that row. Then I had students work with partners to find the totals for the other rows and then add those totals to find the total number of feet for all the houses. It was a great multiplication lesson! Hope you'll try it too!

    Stephanie Sheffield

    1. Love how you changed it up! You just inspired many ideas for using literature in the multiplication context! Thanks for stopping by my blog and writing such a great book!

  7. This is one of my favorite picture books! Great math application! Thanks so much for sharing...


  8. I have used this book every year - but have never thought of bringing math into it. Thinking of the math possibilities now ..... thanks

  9. This book is a classic! I remember my teacher's reading it to me and now I read it to my kiddos. Great math idea! Thanks for sharing :)

    Second Grade Sweetie Pies

  10. I love this idea and thank you for sharing it! It's perfect for a tutoring activity this summer. Thanks!!