Posted by: Ms. Matson | April 25, 2010

Math Literature part one

I’m taking a class on teaching elementary math and one of our assignments was to find ten math-related books for children.  I spent a couple hours main library downtown sitting in the 513 section of the children’s department.  Who knew there were so many interesting books about math?  And I’m not talking text books.  There are lots of great books on a variety of math topics, from counting books, to a story about probability with a cat named Odds.  I’ll definitely be using these in my classroom.  I’ll briefly summarize each of the books I selected for my project over the next few days.

Fraction Fun by David A. Adler

Fraction Fun is a simple exploration of fractions.  Different objects are used to illustrate the concept, from pizza to coins.  There are directions for using paper plates to examine ½, ¼, and 1/8.  A small scale is also used to create fractions out of weights, and graph paper is used to examine equivalent fractions.  The book introduces the concept of numerator and denominator and encourages to reader to compare what happens when either number increases.  Grades 1-5

Fun With Roman Numerals by David A. Adler

Adler presents the difficult concept of Roman numerals in an easy-to-understand format.  Starting with the very basics, they show how to use Roman numerals I, V, X, L, C, D, and M.  The text is straightforward and the vibrant illustrations of Roman citizens and soldiers make it interesting.  They have also included a simple way to practice building and manipulating Roman numerals using coins labeled with I, V, X, L, and C.

Fun with Roman Numerals could be used both to introduce students to the concept and to revisit and reinforce it.  It can be integrated into a study of Ancient Rome and lead to examinations of other numeric systems and why we use Arabic numerals.  Students could be given the chance to develop their own system of numerals.  Grades 3-5

Anno’s Mysterious Multiplying Jar by Masaichiro and Mitsumasa Anno

This simple story begins with a jar.  Within the jar is an island in a sea, and on the island are two countries, and each country had three mountains.  Each mountain had four kingdoms.  The pattern continues up to ten jars in each of nine boxes.  The authors then introduce an explain the concept of 10!, the pattern of multiplying 10x9x8x7x6x5x4x3x2x1 as it relates to the contents of the original jar.  There is an extended section on factorials in general.

Many children will enjoy Anno’s Mysterious Multiplying Jar for the beautiful illustrations and curious property of the jar.  Others will delight in discovering the pattern as the story progresses and figuring out the process themselves.  This is excellent for upper elementary and middle school students. Grades 4+



  1. Anno’s Mysterious Multiplying Jar looks lovely–I’ll look for it!

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