I'm always looking for a good picture book to introduce or supplement picture math units.
Please explore and add your own ideas! Check out the Bibliography of books I have shared with our Media Specialist to use this year.
Picture Books for Units
The inspiring story of Wilma Rudolph, the first woman to win 3 gold medals in a single Olympics...
A sickly child just over four pounds at birth who had a leg paralyzed by polio just before she turned five, Rudolph became an incredible athlete.
To prep for reading the book, have students find out how much they weighed at birth. List on chart paper. Then, after reading the story, have students work in pairs to create a graph of the data.
A Remainder of One
Soldier Joe is in a squadron of 25 bug soldiers and is left to march alone when the troop assembles in two, three, or four lines...
To reinforce/introduce remainders, write division equations for each arrangement of 25 bug soldiers. Then give students clues and have them figure out the number between 1 and 25 that fits them all:
Divide by 2; remainder is 0.
Divide by 3; remainder is 1.
Divide by 4: remainder is 2.
Divide by 5; remainder is 0.
Have students make up clues for other problems.
The Doorbell Rang
Victoria and Sam are excited that Ma has made a dozen cookies...
...Ma declares them not as good as Grandma's, but the children are eager to divide them. They each have six, when the doorbell rings and more friends arrive, dividing the cookies more. Each time the children divide the cookies, the doorbell rings again and more friends arrive. When it appears that things can't get worse, the doorbell rings one last time ...
Give the Dog a Bone - Online 100s chart, locating numbers 1-100 on a blank chart in VERY little time! I barely made it!
A Million Fish... More or Less
McKissack, Patricia C. A Million Fish… More or Less. Knopf, 1992. Gr 4–6: number sense
In this tall tale set on a bayou in Louisiana, Hugh Thomas catches three small fish . . . and then a million more. This fish story sets the stage for students to relate numbers to real-world contexts and think about what numbers can and can’t represent.
Give students a beginning example: Five hundred could not be the number of pounds a turkey weighs, but it could be the number of _____________.Have them suggest ideas for completing the sentence. Then write an open prompt on the board for students to make up their own examples:
__________ could not be the number of ____________, but it could be the number of ____________.
Mahy, Margaret. 17 Kings and 42 Elephants. Dial, 1987. Gr 2–4: division
With dreamlike jungle illustrations and rollicking verse, this is a story in verse about 17 kings going somewhere, never revealed, with 42 elephants. The language is rich and imaginative, and the book is exquisite.
Give students the problem of figuring out how 17 kings could share the responsibility equally of taking care of the 42 elephants.
Birch, David. The King’s Chessboard. Scott Foresman, 1993. Gr 4–6: doubling, addition
When the king wants to give a gift to his wise man, the man points to a chessboard and suggests one grain of rice on the first square the first day, two grains on the second square the second day, and so on, doubling each previous day’s gift for each of the 64 squares on the board. The king finally realizes that he can’t fulfill the agreement.
On the board or chart paper, write the number of grains of rice for the first five days—1, 2, 4, 8, 16. Ask students for the numbers for the next several days to be sure they all understand the doubling pattern. Then have students continue to find the numbers up to the 20th day (524,288 grains), or 30th day (536,870,912 grains). Students who are interested could continue, or do the addition required to figure the total amounts for different days. For a literacy lesson, have students compare the different versions of the story.
Some similar books for this same lesson:
Barry, David. The Rajah’s Rice. Freeman, 1994.
Pittman, Helena Clare. A Grain of Rice. Dell, 1996.
Demi. One Grain of Rice. Scholastic, 1997.