Saturday, 28 February 2015

Reading in Math - Book 2

Here is another great book I read in my Math class.

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Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein, more specifically the poem, “Smart”.

Ok, so it’s not technically a story but it will still make a great addition to your math lesson.  I love to use this particular poem during out unit on ratios and rates. I usually choose to read this poem to the students after we have worked with ratios for a few days and before I introduce rates

Quick summary -The “smartest” son starts out with 1 dollar, but after making a few trades he ends up with 5 cents. His reasoning – 5 is more than 1. 

            For this activity I read the whole poem aloud to the students. They usually think it is pretty funny, and it doesn't take long for them to figure out the “problem” in the poem. Immediately after reading the poem, I provide each student with their own copy, so that they can read it again on their own and have them reflect on the poem in a quick-write. A “quick-write” is a timed period that students are asked to write their immediate thoughts and feelings about something. The goal is for their pencil to not leave the paper until time is up. I usually provide 2-3 minutes for this particular activity.  Afterwards, we have a discussion about the poem and why the smartest son is not so smart. My favorite answer that a student came up with was, “Maybe he was smart, just not math smart”.


            I tell all the students since they are all much smarter than the smartest son; they need to determine what he should have traded for if he really was the smartest son. I then have the students determine the ratios, rates and unit rates for all of the combinations found in the poem.

            This is such a cute poem, I know yours students will love it!


            Interested in incorporating more reading in your math class?  Check out my “Math Stories” Collection.

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