Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Math and Poetry ("Smart" by Shel Silverstein, money lessons)

Have you ever considered combining math and poetry? You might join a friend and read Math Talk: Mathematical Ideas in Poems for Two Voices. You could read "Shapes," by Shel Silverstein in his book, A Light in the Attic. Or you might consider using the hilarious poem, "Smart," (also by Silverstein in Where the Sidewalk Ends) and combine math (money), poetry, and drama.

(Note: you can purchase just the MP3 of "Smart" on Amazon, cheap. I own the audio recording of the books, available on CD: Where the Sidewalk Ends CD, A Light in the Attic CD.)

Today, Little Student and I read "Smart" aloud. We then used real money to demonstrate each of the exchanges that take place in the poem. As we made each exchange, my student (in the role of the son) told me how much money he lost in that step. He cut out coins and a dollar bill from printouts to represent the money used in the poem and glued them onto a 5-flap book. He read the poem again, pointing to each visual representation of the money as he went. Finally, he wrote number sentences to demonstrate what happened in each exchange; he wrote subtraction problems with blanks to fill in (see photo) to show how much money was lost each time.

He also played some money games on-line, selected from the following...

On-line Money Games:

Cash Out--Player becomes the cashier at a store and must give change. Varying levels of difficult.

Making Change--Pet store worker must make change with fewest possible coins.

Moneyville--fun, on-line role plays from the Moneyville touring exhibit. Become a neighborhood lemonade tycoon!

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives--(look under "money" by grade level)--Count the money and enter the correct amount.

Practice Counting Money--Player has to click and drag coins to equal the total amount shown.

Scottie Nickel-- Change money into the smallest number of coins possible.

Additional Teaching Resources on Money
Mathwire also has some fabulous lessons on money.

Additional Math Poetry Resources
Math Poems--from Math Mama's Poetry Challenge. Thanks, Sue, for the link!
A blog: Intersections--Poetry with Mathematics. Thanks, Maria, at Natural Math.

Next week, a group of my students will be dramatizing "Smart." Check back here for results. This is going to be FUN! :)


  1. I love your flap book and your students performance. :)

  2. I love the worksheet you posted on Math Monday! Thanks, Lorena!

  3. Thanks for linking up to Foldable Week. I am going to go and check out those Shel Silverstein poems tomorrow! As a Language person I LOVE the idea of using poems in Math class.
    Thinking of Teaching


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