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Lesson Plan

Bridging Literature and Mathematics by Visualizing Mathematical Concepts

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Bridging Literature and Mathematics by Visualizing Mathematical Concepts

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

David Whitin

David Whitin

Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan

Phyllis Whitin

Phyllis Whitin

Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan

Publisher

National Council of Teachers of English

 

Overview

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

 

OVERVIEW

Math-related, informational books, like Steve Jenkins' Actual Size and David M. Schwartz' If You Hopped Like a Frog, provide the focus for this lesson, which connects reading, writing, math, and science. By exploring the life-size images in Actual Size and the comparisons to familiar objects in both books, students visualize measurements and mathematical proportions, which, in turn, teaches ratio. Students first begin with a read aloud and discussion of Actual Size and then use their hands to make size comparisons with the illustrations in the book. Next they listen to and discuss If You Hopped Like a Frog. They then talk about the similarities and differences between the two books and complete a Venn diagram. Finally, students apply these strategies to their own research and writing, bridging literature and mathematics as they research and write about an animal from one of the texts and then share their work with the class.

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FEATURED RESOURCES

Interactive Venn Diagram: Students use this online tool to compare and contrast the elements of two stories read in class.

Multigenre Mapper: Students use this online tool to publish their writing, including a drawing and three written texts.

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FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE

Stephanie Harvey suggests that teachers "surround kids with compelling nonfiction of every type and form" (13) and provide children with time to "research topics of interest and to practice reading and writing strategies" (14). The visual, language, and mathematical features of the math-related book pair that provides the focus of this lesson serve as powerful examples for children to examine critically and to inspire their own nonfiction writing. At the same time, these books incorporate real world applications of linear, area, and other forms of measurement, as well as the concept of ratio (NCTM, 2000, Connections Standard, Whitin & Whitin, 2004). These books can also inspire an inquiry stance toward scientific learning that is advocated by the National Science Teachers Association (NRC, 1996).

Further Reading

Harvey, Stephanie. "Nonfiction Inquiry: Using Real Reading and Writing to Explore the World." Language Arts 80.1 (September 2002): 12-22.

Read more about this resource

 

Whitin, David J. & Phyllis Whitin. 2004. New Visions for Linking Literature and Mathematics. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English; and Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Read more about this resource

 

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 2000. Principles and Standards for School Mathematics. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

 

National Research Council. 1996. National Science Education Standards. Arlington, VA: National Academy Press.

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