Math Investigations K-5

Math Investigations

Meeting the standard in grades K-5

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NCTM Math Strands
Numbers and Operations
Number Sense, Operations, Decimals, Fractions
  • Standards & Expectations
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  • Algebra
    Patterns, Sorting, and Mathematical Models
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  • Geometry
    2-D Shapes, 3-D Shapes, and Spatial Relationships
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  • Measurement
    Length, Volume, Weight, Perimeter, Area, and Time
  • Standards & Expectations
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  • Data Analysis and Probability
    Collecting, Organizing, and Representing Information
  • Standards & Expectations
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    Please contact us with any questions, comments, or ideas about teaching math in elementary school.

    Books - Numbers • Algebra • GeometryMeasurementData Analysis

    The Grapes of Math

    How is it possible to count a complicated pattern of strawberry seeds or grapes on a vine or camel humps--in a blink of an eye? If children can open their minds to new ways of perceiving math, anything is possible! Greg Tang shows readers creative ways to use patterns and combinations of numbers to solve math puzzles quickly and effectively. Rather than laboriously counting 24 mushroom slices on a pizza, Tang suggests: "Let me give you some advice, / Just do half and count twice." And in adding the number of dots on a fan: "Instead of seeing groups of threes, / Count by fives and it's a breeze!"


    One Hundred Angry Ants

    Hi dee ho! It's off to a picnic we go! One hundred very hungry ants hurry to sample the delights of a picnic, but marching in single file seems too slow for 100 empty tummies. The smallest ant of all suggests they travel in 2 rows of 50, four rows of 25 . . . and the division begins.

    I use this book every year with my first graders and they love it! They think the illustrations are funny and they eagerly predict how the ants will divide their lines next. The children also like to take it off the shelf in the classroom library and share/discuss the story later with a friend. This is one of my favorite math books, not only because it teaches a concept but also because it makes kids laugh!

    A Remainder of One

    As they did in One Hundred Hungry Ants, Pinczes and MacKain apply numerical division to a practical problem-and explain it in an entertaining, visually emphatic way. Keeping to the insect theme, Pinczes introduces the "25th Army Corps," a regiment of 25 beetles on parade. Their blue bug queen "likes things tidy," and when the bugs march two by two, she notices that one bug brings up the rear. The unfortunate Joe has to stand aside rather than be a "remainder"; on the days that follow, Joe tries dividing the squadron into symmetrical rows of three, then four and, finally, five, when he is at last accommodated. Rather than endorse conformity, this rhyming tale focuses on Joe's search for a solution.

    Grandma's Button Box

    When Kelly drops Grandma's button box and the buttons scatter all over the room, she and her cousins scramble to find them and sort them out. First arranging them by shape, then by size, and finally by color, they can't decide how Grandma had arranged them. By the time their grandmother admits, "They were always just jumbled together," the cousins (and readers) have learned a bit about sorting and sets. The lesson is not intrusive, as the book introduces young students to concepts that they will meet again in math. The jaunty line-and-wash illustrations give a cheerful look to this simple story from the Math Matters series.

    Sorting (Math Counts)

    This is a wonderful book to use to teach the concept of sorting (why objects are grouped together in a particular way). I've used this book with my second grade class and they really loved the simple, colorful photographs depicting everyday objects. My two and a half year old daughter also enjoys the simple, no-nonsense text used to explain this somtimes difficult math concept. Very engaging book!

    Books - Numbers • Algebra • GeometryMeasurementData Analysis


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