Engage Your Students with Math Picture Books

By: Mary Kienstra on: January 22, 2015  in: Engagement, literature

This math picture book includes real life problems involving ratios.

This picture book includes real life problems involving ratios.

Kids of all ages love picture books.  When you look around, you notice that there are actually many picture books that focus on math.  Books are a great way to bring your math lessons to life and engage your students in ways that text book lessons never will.  Have you hopped like a frog or had a “math curse“?  Engage your math students with math picture books.  It’s a natural hook to the content in your curriculum for all ages.

One of my favorite units is the study of ratio and proportion.  That unit includes so many real life examples and other problems that students truly understand.  If You Hopped Like a Frog written by David M. Schwartz and illustrated by James Warhola is a great extension to the study of ratios and proportions as it includes many fun facts about animals and their special powers.  For example if a 3 inch frog can jump 60 inches, how far could you jump if your jump was proportional to a frog’s?  There are many ratio problems like this that challenge students to think, always asking the question, “Does it make sense?”


Students work together to solve the problems posed at the end of the math picture book.

After I read the book to my students, they began to work with rulers, meter sticks, and a partner to answer the questions in the back of the picture book.  My students practiced solving proportion problems and marveled at the possibilities of such things as the brain size of a brachiosaurus and the carrying capacity of an ant.  They were hooked!

This easy to read math picture book engaged my students in real life problems that made sense to them.  What picture books have you used in your class to engage your students?




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