Instruction & Curriculum

Using Literature to Teach Math: Five Great Books to Use in Middle School

I’m always trying to come up with different ways to teach math that will grab the interest of my students. If you’ve ever taught math or been taught math, you know there are some students that just don’t like math, but love reading. So, what if you incorporate literature in math instruction? I’ve got five great books that you can use to help teach math.
Five Great Books to Use to Teach Literature in Middle School Mathematics
Here are five fantastic literature pieces you can use to teach math!
Sir Cumference series – This entire series of books is great for teaching geometry and the silly, but adventurous stories will help students seal math concepts dealing with circumference and angles into their minds. It goes all the way into finding the volume of cones. Each book includes activities at the back for students.adventurous stories will help students seal math concepts Click To Tweet
Flatland – Originally published in 1884, Flatlands goes into the world of the 2nd dimension and how shapes look to each other, but then it goes into “other worlds” where things get interesting and the Flatlander learns about three-dimensional shapes.
Math Curse – A silly picture book that can be read all at once, this book has a lot to teach about problem-solving, averages, percents, volume, sequencing, permutations, and more. This activity, which goes with the book, can help reach the timidest math students.
The Phantom Tollbooth – I read this story in middle school and enjoyed it without even knowing that math concepts were woven throughout the book. What a missed opportunity! Ratio, proportion, averages, measurement, estimation, geometry, and more are incorporated into the storyline without a hitch. Dan Batten has some great ideas for using this book in math class.
Chasing Vermeer – This book was given to me by my Language Arts counterpart as a potential book to read with the students. It covers symmetry, Roman Numerals, patterns, and more. Scholastic also includes some great ideas for incorporating the book into actual activities for the students.
Math Doesn’t Just Have to be About Math!
Sometimes the best unit plans include multidisciplinary approaches, and these books provide the rare opportunity to join math with literature rather than just science (our go-to as math teachers). I hope that you’ll check these books out and love them as much as I do. I know that your students will!

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