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Math Fables Too
Author: Greg Tang
Illustrator: Taia Morley
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Copyright: 2007
ISBN: 978-0-439-78351-4
Number of Pages: 40
Ohio Standards Alignment: Grades preK–2

This is the second of two Math Fables books by Greg Tang that use verse to show how increasing numbers of objects -- animals in this case -- can be broken down and regrouped. The book is beautifully illustrated by Taia Morley, and students may enjoy drawing the same kinds of pictures to illustrate simple number combinations. The rhyming verse is easy enough for children to repeat and is laced with fascinating scientific facts. Some of the science vocabulary is beyond the level of the mathematics addressed. The author suggests the science vocabulary is worthwhile for young children to hear, though reading the book themselves would be difficult for the age range intended.


Go to:
How to Use This Book
Highlights and Insights
Related ORC Resources
Ohio Standards

 


How to Use This Book

  • This book and its prequel, Math Fables, can be used separately or together as children learn to break apart and recombine numbers. Both books are divided into separate short poems for each number, so chapters can be used individually depending on the level necessary for individuals or groups of children.
  • Children can use items more available than animals (blocks, pencils, cookies, or the children themselves) to generate smaller groupings from a larger group.
  • Extensions to division can be achieved by separating the children in the class into several groups or teams of the same size to play a game or perform a task (teams of 5 for basketball or groups of 3 to gather different items for a class party).
  • This book is definitely a read-aloud book to allow for discussion about what is happening to each of the sets of animals.
  • CAUTION: The teacher must be explicit about the mathematics as the intriguing science information may tend to overshadow the mathematics. For example, it is not explict that the same group of 5 animals can be regrouped as 2 and 3 and then as 1 and 4 to form a new fact family.
  • Another CAUTION: The illustrations may not accurately depict all of the subgrouping situations. Students should count to show where all of the subgroupings are.

Highlights and Insights

  • Beyond rote counting and recognizing that a number represents a number of objects (cardinality), more complex concepts of breaking apart and combining numbers (addition, subtraction) are addressed in this book.
  • Several mathematical notions can be discussed, including: As each new species of animal appears, the number of animals increases by one from the previous number. As the number increases, there are more ways to decompose the set into smaller subsets. Also, some sets of animals (even numbers) can be divided into two equal subsets and others (odd numbers) cannot. 
  • Students could write equalities for each group of animals. For instance, for five whales students might write 5 = 2 +3 = 1 + 4. Expressing the decomposition with the total sum on the left, rather than the right (where they usually see it), helps students understand the true equivalence expressed by the equals sign.
  • The illustrations in the book are beautiful and would easily lead children to want to create their own animal book.
  • The author makes specific references to the science vocabulary and the use of tools by the animals depicted in the book. The final page has extended text related to each of the animals highlighted in the book.

Related ORC Resources

Begin With Buttons 5: Numbers Many Ways
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ORC# 4270
Resource Information
Resource Type: Lessons
Discipline: Mathematics
Grades: Grades K–1
Professional Commentary: Students find all the ways 7 can be expressed as the sum of two numbers. They then write fact families of addition and subtraction sentences for 7....
Let's Count to 10
View Full RecordAdd to My ORC Collection
ORC# 3758
Resource Information
Resource Type: Lessons
Discipline: Mathematics
Grades: Grades PreK–Kindergarten
Professional Commentary: This eight-lesson unit features activities in various modalities in which students work with progressively larger sets containing 5-10 elements. They count the elements, write numerals, and make sets with more or fewer elements....
Do It with Dominoes 1: Counting to Find Sums
View Full RecordAdd to My ORC Collection
ORC# 4309
Resource Information
Resource Type: Lessons
Discipline: Mathematics
Grades: Grades K–1
Professional Commentary: Students get acquainted with dominoes, count the dots on each half, and write the numerals for the numbers of dots. They then find the sum of the dots on both halves and write the addition sentence to represent the sum....
Do It with Dominoes 2: Hopping on the Number Line
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ORC# 4310
Resource Information
Resource Type: Lessons
Discipline: Mathematics
Grades: Grades K–2
Professional Commentary: Students represent the dots on a domino by hops on the number line. Looking at the dots on both halves of the domino, they predict where they will end up on the number line and then count to see if they are correct....
Do It with Dominoes 4: Balancing Discoveries
View Full RecordAdd to My ORC Collection
ORC# 4312
Resource Information
Resource Type: Lessons
Discipline: Mathematics
Grades: Grades K–2
Professional Commentary: Students use a pan balance or a balance beam to explore addition combinations. They may also use the interactive balance applet for further exploration....
Let's Count!
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ORC# 570
Resource Information
Resource Type: Content Supports -- Technologies
Discipline: Mathematics
Grades: Kindergarten
Professional Commentary: This site is a collection of applets that engage students in counting, extending sequences, constructing sets that contain 0-3 elements more or less than a given set, and adding by combining sets. The objects to be counted are colorful and move around, which may be distracting to some students....

Ohio Standards

Number, Number Sense and Operations Standard
    Benchmarks (K-2)
    G. Model, represent and explain addition as combining sets and counting on.
    H. Model, represent and explain subtraction as comparison, take-away and part-to-whole.
    Grade Level Indicators (K)
    8. Represent and use whole numbers in flexible ways, including relating, composing and decomposing numbers; e.g., 5 marbles can be 2 red and 3 green or 1 red and 4 green.
    10. Model and represent addition as combining sets and counting on, and subtraction as take-away and comparison. For example:
    a. Combine and separate small sets of objects in contextual situations; e.g., add or subtract one, two, or another small amount.
    b. Count on (forward) and count back(backward) on a number line between 0 and 10.
    Grade Level Indicators (1)
    10. Model, represent and explain addition as combining sets (part + part = whole) and counting on. For example: a. Model and explain addition using physical materials in contextual Situations. b. Draw pictures to model addition. c. Write number sentences to represent addition. d. Explain that adding two whole numbers yields a larger whole number.
    11. Model, represent and explain subtraction as take-away and comparison. For example: a. Model and explain subtraction using physical materials in contextual situations. b. Draw pictures to model subtraction. c. Write number sentences to represent subtraction. d. Explain that subtraction of whole numbers yields an answer smaller than the original number.
    Grade Level Indicators (pre-K)
    7. Group and regroup a given set in the context of daily activities and play (e.g., 5 blocks can be 2 blue and 3 green or 1 blue and 4 green).
    16. Join two sets of objects to make one large set in the context of daily routines of play (e.g., combining 2 bags of raisins, each containing 3 pieces; combining 2 groups of blocks, each containing 3 blocks).