Tag Archives: Math

Hidden Figures

Title: Hidden Figures


Author: Margot Lee Shetterly


Illustrator: Laura Freeman


Publisher and Year: HarperCollins Publishers 2018


Number of pages: 30


Tags: Culture, Diversity, Math, Non-fiction, Science, K-5, Joe Marras


Descriptive Annotation: This is a true story about four black women: Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden.  These four women were some of the first black women to become engineers, and make strides in space and airplane technology. No background knowledge is needed for this because there is no actual math or science in this story, just a lot of mention of it because of how complicated the math they were doing is.


Classroom Application:  This story has many classroom applications including history, math, and science.  It could be used to tell the story of these four intelligent women or show real world applications of math and science.  Also could be used to show african american scientists and mathematicians to show that they are indeed out there.


Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis:  This book represents african american culture and some of their struggles to gain equality in the workplace and in the world.  Since this story takes place during the 1950’s, it can help show the fight for equality in America, and also can show the discrimination they felt by being segregated from white people, “They could not eat in the same restaurants.  They could not drink from the same water fountains. They could not use the same restrooms.” This shows the segregation in America at the time, and helps to show how important it was for these women to do what they did. These women did amazing work and helped bring men to the moon and back down to earth, and advancing airplanes to prevent more crashes, among many other things, “No one knows how many lives her work may have helped save.”  Talking about Katherine Johnson and her work, and no one can truly tally just many lives she saved, and no one probably even mentions it.

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The King’s Commissioners

Title: The King’s Commissioners


Author: Aileen Friedman


Illustrator: Susan Guevara


Publisher and Year: Scholastic Press, 1994


Number of Pages: 26 Pages


Tags: Math, Fiction, Family, K-1, Joe Marras


Genre: Fiction


Descriptive Annotation: This story is about a king that has hired many commissioners to be in charge of certain silly tasks such as for flat tires, chickenpox, and foul balls.  He had hired so many that he began to lose count and lose track of who was in charge of was tasks. So the king had his royal advisors summon all commissioners and have them walk through so that he and his two advisors can count.  The king’s daughter comes in and distracts him in the middle of his count so he lost his count, but at the end he had his two advisors count still. His advisors try to explain their tally marks to him, but he does not understand it until his daughter arranges it in a better way for him, and she finally explains it and he figures out how many commissioners he has.


Classroom Application: This is a good story to show applications of math in the real world.  In this story they used three different ways of tallying all of the people they counted, so it help shows multiple ways of counting which would be good for young students.  


Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This is set in old times when kings and queens were still prominent, so I think that this is a good way to introduce more math concepts to young students because they probably still read and watch a lot of things involving monarchies. The tone of this book is very light and has a nice father daughter relationship which students should be able to relate to.  It is also very silly, “First came the Commissioner for Spilt Milk. He’d been very busy when the Princess was a baby.” There are a lot of goofy commissioners in the story which are very entertaining. Another quote to show the daddy-daughter relationship is, “Let me, Daddy, let me,” pleaded the Princess. The King looked down at his eager daughter and sighed. “All right, my dear.” ” The king was getting frustrated, but the Princess was there to help explain it to him.  The love between them is obvious and very affectionate.

The Librarian Who Measured The Earth

Title: The Librarian Who Measured The Earth


Author: Kathryn Lasky


Illustrator: Kevin Hawkes


Publisher and Year: Little, Brown and Company 1994


Number of Pages: 47




Descriptive Annotation: This book is about a Greek librarian named Eratosthenes.  He was very interested in geography and wanted to measure how big the Earth was.  It details his life, but he is most known for figuring out how to calculate the Earth’s circumference. It also explains how he was a very curious man and questioned a lot of things, but mainly focused on how he learned to calculate the Earth’s circumference.


Classroom Application: This book could be used to introduce Greek scholars, but also be used to introduce the mathematical concept of circumference.  Eratosthenes was the first person to find out the circumference of the Earth, so it would be a cool way of introducing circumference to younger kids.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis:  This book explains how schools were back in ancient Greece and how they studied, “At the gymnasium there were no desks, no paper, and no pencils.”  Showing how school was different and that there are different ways to learn. Eratosthenes was a very curious person and questioned lots of things, so this could be used to show that asking questions is a good thing because it leads to knowing more things.  That’s how he learned the circumference of the Earth because it started out as a question, “When he could speak, he began asking hundreds and even thousands of questions.” At the root of learning is a question, so it is good to have questions.

Equal Schmequal

Title: Equal Shmequal

Author: Virginia Kroll

Illustrator: Philomena O’Neill

Publisher/Year: Library of Congress, 2005

Number of Pages:  32

Tags/Themes: Animals, Fantasy, Math, Picture book, K-1, 2-3, Rebecca Cauthorn

Genre: Fiction

Descriptive Annotation:  This book is about a group of animals who are trying to figure out how to make equal tug of war teams. At the end of the book there is a special note with the literal definition of the word equal. This is important because they talk about different kinds of equality throughout the book, equal number, equal size, equal weight, equal effort, etcetera. Students would not necessarily need to have any background knowledge of this book, but I would make it a point to make sure that they understand what the word equal means by the end of the book.

Classroom Application:  This book would be a good way to introduce a math lesson on what it means to be equal. Because it discusses numbers and halves, it would be appropriate for a younger audience. Additionally, I would use  part of the text which I disagree with to create a mini lesson. At one point, mouse says, “Equal means fair”, which I definitely do not agree with. I understand, for the purpose of the book, why the author said this. However, in the classroom setting, fair is not always equal because different students need different accommodations! So I would still use this book to help introduce the concept of equality in terms of math, but I would use that part to show that Mouse wasn’t right about that all the time.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: At the beginning of the book, Mouse is watching children play on the playground. The illustrator portrayed them as being many different races. This is important because the ethnic makeup of the classroom is likely to be diverse, so by using books which also show diversity it helps students understand that it doesn’t matter what color you are! The language in the book is easy to read, as demonstrated in this line, “Bear walked out from the trees. ‘What do you want to play?’”. However, the size of the text is on the smaller side and there is a lot of text on each page which could make it challenging for some students in lower grades. This book might be a good one to read out loud and have kids make predictions about what is going to happen next.


A Wrinkle in Time

Title – A Wrinkle in Time

Author(s) – Madeleine L’Engle

Illustrator/Photographer – Ellen Raskin

Publisher and Year – January 1, 1962 by Yearling Books

Number of pages – 240 pages

Tags/Themes – Rylie Loux, Adventure, Award Book, Emotion, Family, Math, Science Fiction, 6-8

Genre – Science Fiction

Descriptive Annotation: A Wrinkle in Time is the story of the Murry children and their search for their missing scientist father. This book begins by relating Meg’s personal struggles at school and her inability to fit in with the crowd. Following the discovery of a new form of space travel as well as Meg’s father’s disappearance, she, her brother, and her friend must join three magical beings. They will accompany Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which to travel across the universe to rescue their father from a terrible evil. As the children move through space and time they are met with several challenges that require them to prove their worth. Meg learns that she must overcome her fears and self-serving immaturity to succeed. Overall, this is a book about the battle between good and evil and the ultimate celebration of love.

Classroom Application/Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This is a perfect resource for showing students the importance of being independent and happy with oneself. This is a wonderful book for kids who have ever felt “different” or lonely. It celebrates the power of individuality, bravery, and love. This story explains the desire for conformity and appreciation in their own uniqueness as an individual. Also, this story could be used with science by discussing what makes A Wrinkle in Time a work of science fiction. A classroom application could be having students bring in unusual news stories about UFO sightings, psychic powers, or anything else related. Also, the characters are able to time travel through tesseracts. While our world today may not have the same advances in real life, they are still able to learn about tesseracts in a math resource. This story is classroom relatable while being a story students will enjoy.

Quotes –  

“I hate being an oddball,” Meg said. “It’s hard on Sandy and Dennys, too. I don’t know if they’re really like everybody else, or if they’re just able to pretend they are. I try to pretend, but it isn’t any help.”

“Maybe if Father were here he could help you, but I don’t think I can do anything till you’ve managed to plow through some more time. Then things will be easier for you. But that isn’t much help right now, is it?