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The Phantom Tollbooth
Author: Norton Juster
Illustrator: Jules Feiffer
Publisher: Yearling
Copyright: 1961/2005
ISBN: 0-394-82037-1
Number of Pages: 264
Ohio Standards Alignment: Grades 5–8

The Phantom Tollbooth is a classic humorous book about a bored and unmotivated boy named Milo.  When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, Milo drives through it because he has nothing better to do. On the other side, things seem different. In his many adventures, Milo jumps to the island of Conclusions, learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and restores Rhyme and Reason to Dictionopolis and Digitopolis.  The book shows the importance of both mathematics and language arts and how they reinforce each other.  The story also shows how students may not appreciate the importance of learning until they have to use their knowledge in a real or imagined situation. 

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

 


How to Use This Book

  • Upper elementary and middle grades students can read this book for themselves or may enjoy having it read to them. Reading the book themselves is preferable because the illustrations and the way that some words are written and/or spelled are part of the story and the humor.
  • Because the book is divided into chapters, it can be enjoyed throughout the year as different topics are encountered.
  • This book is a perfect vehicle for collaboration between mathematics and language arts teachers.

Highlights and Insights

  • This book is perfect for students who need to be motivated. There are jokes and puns on every page. Students who "get" the humor will find their confidence and interest soaring.
  • There are too many mathematical ideas in the story to list them all here.  One assignment might be for students to make a list of all of the mathematical topics they discover as they go along.

Related ORC Resources

Averages and The Phantom Tollbooth
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ORC# 4235
Resource Information
Resource Type: Lessons
Discipline: Mathematics
Grades: Grade 6
Professional Commentary: Students analyze passages from The Phantom Tollbooth to gain a deeper understanding of averages and then look for other uses of averages in the newspaper. An activity sheet and Internet extension are included....
Patterns to the Rescue
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ORC# 2653
Resource Information
Resource Type: Lessons
Discipline: Mathematics
Grades: Grades 3–5
Professional Commentary: Students must use numerical and geometric logic to crack the double pattern that unlocks the Poddles' cyberpower vault before Hacker and his henchmen do! In this lesson, students visit the Cyberchase Club website to learn that patterns can repeat or change in more than one way at a time....
Clock Arithmetic and Cryptography
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ORC# 5055
Resource Information
Resource Type: Content Supports
Discipline: Mathematics
Grades: Grades 7–10
Professional Commentary: This site provides the creative teacher an introduction to cryptography using shift and affine ciphers. Applets allow students to code and decode messages automatically, so the teacher will want to develop the reasoning and modular arithmetic behind the methods illustrated....
Unlocking the Mystery of Mathematics: Give Vocabulary Instruction a Chance
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ORC# 11864
Resource Information
Resource Type: Professional Resources
Discipline: Mathematics, Reading
Grades: Grades 6–12
Professional Commentary: This classroom vignette explores teaching vocabulary in the mathematics' classroom. Ohio teacher Bizzie Cors tackles reading comprehension and vocabulary instruction head-on in "Unlocking the Mystery of Mathematics: Give Vocabulary Instruction a Chance." She provides some excellent tips for engaging and motivating students with explicit strategies for vocabulary instruction....
Finding Figurative Language in The Phantom Tollbooth
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ORC# 2800
Resource Information
Resource Type: Lessons
Discipline: Reading
Grades: Grades 6–8
Professional Commentary: To understand a text, students need to know how to decode words and make inferences. Students in grades 6-8 are usually adept at decoding words, but many still have difficulty using context clues and making inferences to comprehend meaning....

Ohio Standards

Number, Number Sense and Operations Standard

Measurement Standard

Geometry and Spatial Sense Standard

Patterns, Functions and Algebra Standard

Data Analysis and Probability Standard