On this page, you will find abstracts of articles that aim to support practitioners to integrate stories and creative writing in their mathematics teaching and learning.
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Bell, C. V. (2013). Developing number sense with literature: Sharing beans with friends. The Journal of Teaching Children Mathematics, 20(4), 238-244.
Abstract: First graders in an urban public school actively engage with mathematics by using the story Bean Thirteen as a context for developing number sense.
Berry, S. M. (2002). Students realize mathematics is everywhere! Teaching Children Mathematics, 9(1), 8-15.
Abstract: A project that helps students to realize the significance of mathematics in their daily lives and to explore mathematical concepts and skills through literature.
Bintz, W. P. & Moore, S. D. (2003). Using literature to teach factorials. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 8(9), 461-465.
Abstract: This article describes the work of one mathematics teacher as she uses literature to make the study of factorials both interesting and comprehensible to middle school students.
Chick, L., Holmes, A. S., McClymonds, N., Musick, S., Reynolds, P., & Shultz, G. (2007). Read a story, discover the math. Teaching Children Mathematics, 14(4), 224-225.
Abstract: Students enjoy reading and hearing teachers read a variety of books, so why not connect children's literature to mathematics? This month, students will have the opportunity to work on measurement, geometry, time, patterns, graphing, and whole number operations by using children's books as a springboard.
Christy, D., Lambe, K., Payson, C., Carnevale, P., & Scarpelli, D. (2008). Alice in Numberland: Through the Standards in Wonderland. Teaching Children Mathematics, 14(8), 436-446.
Abstract: Discussion of a whimsical mathematics event for children and adults that was held at the Providence Children’s Museum in Rhode Island. It was derived from Lewis Carroll and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. NCTM’s five Content Standards were the basis of all stations and activities. The article also includes a table listing thirty-one activities and a brief synopsis of the activity, grade, and NCTM Standard.
Darragh, L. (2019). To love and to loath - How is school mathematics represented in YA fiction? Prismatic Journal, 1, 3-10.
Abstract: Images of mathematics and mathematicians are often negative and stereotyped. These portrayals may work to construct our impressions of mathematics and influence students' identity with and future participation in the subject. This study examined young adult fiction as a context in which school mathematics is portrayed and constructed.
Forrest, K., Schnabel, D., & Williams, M. E. (2006). Mathematics and literature, anyone? Teaching Children Mathematics, 13(4), 216-217.
Abstract: November is National Children's Book Month. During this month we encourage teachers to connect mathematical concepts to literature. Sometimes the connections are obvious; sometimes teachers will need to draw out the mathematics. In both cases, making connections across the curriculum enables our students to deepen their mathematical understandings.
Furner, J. M. (2018). Using children’s literature to teach mathematics: An effective vehicle in a STEM world. European Journal of STEM Education, 3(3), 1-12.
Abstract: Today it is critical to excite young people about mathematics in our high-tech STEM world we live in. Math teachers today need to embolden students to be confident in their ability to solve problems, to think and use their imaginations, to understand mathematical concepts, to be creative, and to see math as a human endeavor. The author feels that as students feel less anxious about, and more confident in their abilities to do math their performance will improve. The author has provided an in-depth literature review and offers background information on using children’s literature to teach mathematics; sharing the methods and materials possible to incorporate such literature into such math instruction in a wide range of mathematics strands. The results of using such literature in the teaching of mathematics may help to lower math anxiety and pique students interest and confidence in math and the STEM fields. Teachers need to address this alarming problem and work toward developing mathematically confident young people for a world where Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields dominate the globe, using literature to teach mathematics can support and cultivate students’ math confidence for a STEM world.
Green, K. B., & Towson, J. P. (2020). Easy as 1, 2, 3, ABC: Integrating number sense and shared storybook readings. Young Exceptional Children. https://doi.org/10.1177/1096250620959660
Abstract: Inclusive preschool teacher, Ms. Abarca, was excited to start the new school year. She had 14 children in her class, with four children who had individualized education programs (IEPs): Charles, Jasmine, Molly, and Dylan. In preparing the first weeks of lesson plans, Ms. Abarca reviewed the classroom curriculum, practitioner journals, and state preschool standards. In past years, she had difficulty fitting in content from all academic areas each day, given the other various requirements of the school day. She set a goal to incorporate daily mathematics activities while engaging all learners. Ms. Abarca specifically had difficulty engaging Charles and Jasmine during storytime and small group activities, as both children resisted storytime and small group instructional work. In addition, she was concerned that both children exhibited signs of difficulties with mathematical concepts. For example, Jasmine only counted to 4 and did not recognize many numerals, while Charles could orally count to 25, yet he did not understand other mathematics concepts such as quantity comparison (e.g., more, less, and same). She searched for solutions for how to integrate mathematics within her daily classroom routine.
Jett, C. C. (2015). Secrets, lies and algebra: Using a novel to explore mathematics concepts. Voice from the Middle, 22(3), 33-37.
Abstract: Have you ever assigned a required reading that ignited a burning fire for mathematics within your students? Have you ever assigned a text that the administrative assistant wanted to read? Has the young adult literature text ever been a storybook related to mathematics? Well, Lichtman’s (2008a) Do the Math #1: Secrets, Lies, and Algebra (referred to as Secrets, Lies, and Algebra during the remainder of this article) was that book for me.
Mattone, L. (2007). "I Know an old lady": Using children's literature to explore patterns. Teaching Children Mathematics, 14(4), 202-205.
Abstract: Children are masters at discovering patterns in their environment. "Look, Ms. Mattone - we're sitting boy, girl, boy, girl." I love to take advantage of these moments, to point out to my kindergarteners how they are using mathematics without even noticing. I also love showing how picture book authors and illustrators have discovered patterns and used them in exciting, creative ways. Picture books have a familiar currency to them, and children readily respond to problems posed by favorite characters and adventures. Each year, I create lessons for my kindergarten class based on popular picture books that explore pattern recognition and development. These lessons introduce the basic concepts of algebraic thinking and provide my students with the foundation they need to complete higher-order mathematics down the road.
Mayer, P. S. (2000). "A Remainder of One": Exploring partitive division. Teaching Children Mathematics, 6(8), 517-521.
Abstract: This article relates how the book A Remainder of One (Pinczes 1995) was used in a fourth-grade classroom to teach the concept of partitive division.
Moyer, P. S., & Mailley, E. (2004). Inchworm and a half: Developing fraction and measurement concepts using mathematical representations. Teaching Children Mathematics, 10(5), 244-252.
Abstract: The use of the book “Inchworm and a Half” to stimulate children's investigations in measurement and number. During a two-day lesson children used physical models and visual representations to develop measurement skills and explore equivalent relationships. Includes a worksheet idea, student solutions, and reflection on their work.
Nurnberger-Haag, J. (2018). Follow the signs to promote accurate geometric shape knowledge: Together we can break the cycle of misinformation. Ohio Journal of School Mathematics, 80.
Abstract: This article will help readers see shape-related children's books in new ways to help PreK-12 learners, as well as future teachers, to develop mathematically accurate concepts. The printable templates and guidelines help preschool, elementary, middle school, and high school teachers select and use children's books about shapes. Librarians, parents, authors, illustrators, and publishers will also find this resource helpful for selecting or creating accurate books about shapes.
Nurnberger-Haag, J., Holford, T.L, Bryk, K.M., Strozyk, H., Harder, M., & Davidsaver, K (2019). A ball is not a circle: How to spot mathematical inaccuracies to improve and use shape book collections. Teacher Librarian, 1(47), 8-13.
Abstract: Trade books are a popular way to introduce children to mathematical concepts. Unfortunately, mathematical inaccuracies are common, and most books about two-dimensional (2D) shapes contain questionable, incomplete, and mathematically inaccurate information (Nurnberger-Haag, 2017). This article intends to guide collection development decisions by increasing awareness of what children learn when reading such books. Standards of collection development mandate that accurate and updated materials be provided for users (American Library Association, 2018). It is crucial to apply this standard to shape-related books by learning to examine collections, critically assess future acquisitions, and determine how to use a book. In the Traffic Light Rating Scale (Nurnberger-Haag, 2018) presented here, green-rated books fi t the American Library Association (ALA) standards of collection development. Yellow- and red-rated books, however, are more commonly found (Nurnberger-Haag, 2018). This article provides guidelines to rate as well as use any books about 2D shapes found in school collections.
Rozanski, K. D., Beckmann, C. E., & Thompson, D. R. (2003). Exploring size with "The Grouchy Ladybug". Teaching Children Mathematics, 10(2), 84-89.
Abstract: The use of the book The Grouchy Ladybug for a mathematics lesson on measurement that integrates language arts and social skills.
Russo, J. (2016). Using picture story books to discover and explore the concept of equivalence. Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, 21(2), 26-31.
Abstract: The notion of equivalence is a very important concept for students and should be developed from a young age. This article demonstrates how students can deepen their relational understanding of the equals sign by exploring inequalities within a dice game based on familiar children’s literature.
Russo, T., & Russo, J. (2018). Narrative-first approach: Teaching mathematics through picture story books. Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, 23(2), 8-15.
Abstract: The four pillars of student engagement, teacher engagement, breadth of mathematics and depth of mathematics are used to explain the benefits of a narrative-first approach for supporting the integration of mathematics and children's literature.
Russo, T., & Russo, J. (2018). The narrative-first approach: Room on the broom investigation. Prime Number, 33(2), 10-11.
Abstract: The Room on the Broom text is used as an example to illustrate how one might structure a lesson using the Narrative-First Approach
Trakulphadetkrai, N. V. (2017). Where are the girls and women in mathematical picture books? Mathematics Teaching, 258, 23-25.
Abstract: Natthapoj Vincent Trakulphadetkrai shares the findings of his pilot study on the visibility of female characters in mathematical picture books.
Trakulphadetkrai, N. V. (2018). Story picture books as a mathematics teaching and learning tool. Primary Mathematics, 22(2), 3-7.
Abstract: Over the past year alone, I have run training workshops on the use of story picture books as a mathematics teaching and learning tool for over 600 in- and pre-service teachers throughout the UK. A common preconception that I came across in these workshops was “Stories are something you find in Literacy lessons. Why should they be integrated into Mathematics lessons?!” I hope this brief article will help to answer this question, but first let’s get to know a bit more about story picture books that can be used in mathematics teaching and learning. (For the sake of brevity, they will now be referred to as mathematical story picture books henceforth)