Stories and the Essence of Math Kindergarten to Grade 6



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Stories and the Essence of Math

Kindergarten to Grade 6

The Process

  1. Ask “What is math?”


  2. Tell a story.

  3. Ask “Is there any math in that story?”

  4. You may just list the math, you may solve the math problems as they come up.

  5. You might want to categorize.

  6. At the end, be sure to ask “Has your definition of math changed?” and “What did you learn about math today?”



Sample Stories


This will work with pretty much any story, so if you have a favourite, just go ahead and tell it. You may want to list some potential questions ahead of time in case you need to give gentle nudges.
Division I

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

You might talk about:



  • addition and subtraction sentences – characters in and out of the house

  • how big were the bears? chairs? beds? measurement

  • how much bigger than the little bed was the big bed?

  • how much porridge was in the big bowl, how much less in medium, how much less in small, how much after Goldi ate?

  • how far did the bears walk? how far did Goldi walk? how long were they gone?

  • how high up was the window she jumped from?

  • what was the temperature of each bowl of porridge?

  • sort by sizes

  • mapping

  • time – how long between when the bears left and when Goldi arrived, how long before they returned?


Gingerbread Man

You might talk about:



  • speed and comparative speed

  • distance traveled

  • size of gingerbread man, how much taller is the pig? dog? cow?

  • recipe – ingredients and measurement


  • depth of water, slope of shore

  • mapping

  • subtraction, Smarties in box? for eyes? for buttons, how many used? how many left?


Division II

Honest Woodcutter

A woodcutter loses his axe in the river. A magical helper pulls out a silver axe and asks if it’s his. He says no. The magical helper pulls out a golden axe but the woodcutter will no take it. When he correctly identifies his humble axe, the magical creature allows him to keep all three as a reward for his honesty. In some versions others try to con the magical helper and lose their own axes.

You might talk about:


  • size of oak

  • number of chops to cut tree

  • force

  • how many trees could he chop in a day?

  • how many logs could he make from one tree?

  • depth of river

  • comparative value of gold and silver

  • weight of axe

  • worth of gold and silver axe

  • cost of living, amount to purchase with axe?

Sources:

  • in many collections of Aesop’s fables

  • a bare bones version at http://www.storyarts.org/library/aesops/stories/honest.html

  • or a more detailed version at http://lkpstoryteller.com/mercury.htm





Professional Storyteller

Stories for education, inspiration, and entertainment

www.ReneeEnglot.com



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