Books for teaching mathematical concepts

I enjoy using books to introduce a new topic in Mathematics or to provide children a fun way to practise or consolidate their skills.

Math Curse by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith is a fun book that looks at all the ways Maths is relevant to our everyday lives.

This is an interesting way to start the year with a new Maths group and you can come back to it again and again, reminding children of the real-life importance of the subject they are studying. I think this is important, especially when so many parents say “I’m rubbish at Maths” or “I never used it after I left school”.

Even if you don’t have access to a hard copy of the book, check out the Youtube video below and see if it might be useful in your classroom.

With my Year 3 class I have recently used the book Twice my Size by Adrian Mitchell and Daniel Pudles to introduce the concept of scaling, which we looked at as an application of our multiplication skills.

It is quite young for Year 3, but I have used it with three different classes, all of whom loved it! It shows a picture of an animal, describing their friend who is twice as large or has a tail twice as long, etc. The children then have to guess who the friend is, before turning the page to reveal the answer.

I often find that my pupils feel much more confident about multiplication than division so I tend to spend quite a bit of time looking at the inverse relationship between multiplication and division and fact families. All the while,  emphasizing ” If you know the multiplication, you also know the division” E.g. if we know that 8 x 3 = 24, we also know 3 x 8 = 24, 24 ÷ 3 = 8 and 24 ÷ 8 = 3. This really helps to support the children as they move further up the school to deal with times tables they are not yet familiar with.

My Maths group this year were quite wobbly about division in general and I was concerned about how they would deal with remainders so I looked around for a fun way to introduce the concept. I hit upon Remainder of One by Elinor J Pinczes and Bonnie MacKain.

We really enjoyed reading the book, pausing throughout to get ourselves into the formations on each page – this gave children a  really clear visual guide to remainders We then moved on to solving problems in groups outside, then applied the work we had been doing using numberless number lines and chunking to solve more difficult problems. Finally, we looked back at the work we had done using the inverse and calculated how to check our answers using the inverse, even when a remainder was involved.

Once again, Youtube to the rescue with an interactive read-aloud which you can pause as it suits you and your class. I would really encourage you get the children up and moving, not just watching this passively. I also asked them for predictions and to problem-solve what they might try if they were the poor left-out bug, Joe!

What do you think?

Have you tried using books to introduce any mathematical concepts?

How has it worked for you and your pupils/ children?

I am always on the look-out for other useful books to introduce mathematical (and other academic) concepts. Have you any recommendations for others I could add to my growing library?

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