With Halloween only two days away, I am wondering how teachers are connecting with their students' interests in this holiday to design engaging Mathematical learning experiences. There are some outstanding children's literature books that provide wonderful connections to mathematical concepts. Some of these include:
How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin is a classic. Using a class pumpkin, or individual student pumpkins, students can:
- estimate how many seeds will be in their pumpkin
- use a graph to help them determine how to carve the class pumpkin
- estimate and then measure the circumference of their pumpkin using strings
- estimate and measure the height of their pumpkins using cubes
- count the number of lines around the pumpkin
Another fun Halloween book is 2x2 = Boo! This book can be used to explore multiplication. Similar to the classic game Circles and Stars by Marilyn Burns, students can roll two dice and play "Spiders and Webs". Students will need cotton balls or large elastics for the webs and some mini spiders, which can be found at the dollar store this time of the year. The first dice rolled represents the number of webs the students will need to make and the second roll will represent the number of spiders they need to place in each web. They will build these. Then using a whiteboard students can explore writing a "groups of" statement (e.g., 4 groups of 8 spiders is 8 + 8 + 8 + 8 or 4 x 8). Recently I visited some Grade Three classes to engage in Number Talks. I used images of Halloween cookies placed in arrays to spark multiplicative thinking. The students were able to see the equal groupings and made connections between repeated addition and multiplication, as well as the commutative property (e.g., a x b = b x a). I've shared these images under the Instructional Ideas tab so that others may used these and the app Skitch to have similar discussions with their students.
This is just a small sample of ideas. There are many other Halloween books, including Franklin's Halloween where you could delve into looking at combination problems. Others I'm excited to check out include Bats on Parade and Bat Jamboree! I would love to hear more about your favourite Halloween children's books and any Halloween'y Math lessons you've tried. Please leave some ideas/comments below!
I am a Numeracy Helping Teacher with the Surrey Schools District. Each day I am thankful for being able to work with amazing students and teachers in an area I am passionate about ~ Mathematics!
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