Saturday, April 27, 2013

Arithmetic by Carl Sandburg

I love children's literature!  I especially enjoy literature that has math content.  The other day I noticed Carl Sandburg's poem, "Arithmetic" on my shelf.  I have a picture book that was illustrated by Ted Rand - the illustrations are intriguing - they are anamorphic drawings.  They add to the whimsical nature of the poem!

I began to think about how I might use this book in my Algebra classes.  Sandburg writes what is called a "list poem" describing arithmetic.  It would be interesting for students to compile a list poem about algebra.  Students could brainstorm in small groups ways that Algebra shows up in the real world.  The challenge might be to create humorous or whimsical examples.  We might post the brainstorming ideas around the room to help fuel students' thinking.  Then groups of students could compile their list of 6 to 8 thoughts in poetry style with illustrations.  I created a simple rubric for scoring.

For elementary teachers, I created a document with vocabulary, thin and thick questions, and activities to go with this book (or just the poem).  It's for sale on my TpT site, Algebra's Friend.

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