FIAR: Katy & The Big Snow & Math

This post is part of our monthly series highlighting books and activities from the Five In A Row (FIAR) curriculum.

When I opened Katy & The Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton to find some math, I was shocked. I didn’t have to look far at all – it was everywhere!

Math is disguised in all sorts of fun places in this beautiful book!

Katy includes graphing!

The book starts off with the map of the city. Maps are graphing.

And when the city is shown on other pages, if the orientation is different, a compass is shown to indicate direction. The compass represents the x-axis (N/S) and y-axis (E/W). It also shows the 360º in a circle.

When Katy (the tractor) is introduced, you can see lots of symmetry – especially in her big snow plow. Symmetry is another important concept in graphing.

Factors and multiplication are in the book.

Katy’s features are outlined in the margins and include her horsepower. Instead of merely writing “55 horsepower,” Burton illustrates it with 55 horses, and they are counted in 5s.

Skip counting like this shows factoring as well as multiples (which are used in finding the GCF and LCM – remember those?).

And Burton doesn’t just stop at 5 and 10, she illustrates and counts all 55 horses.

(Note: I put the red circles on the images.)

So when you read Katy & The Big Snow with your children – you can support their math learning by seeing and saying the math in the pictures!

Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

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FIAR: Make a Map of Your Town with Katy and the Big Snow

This post is part of our monthly series highlighting books and activities from the Five In A Row (FIAR) curriculum.

This month’s FIAR feature is Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton. Katy is a big red crawler tractor and any child with an interest in trucks is going to love this book. The illustrations are wonderful – there’s so much to see on every page. One page is outlined with smaller pictures of more than 20 different kinds of trucks! You could read this book time and time again and still finding something new.

With all that going on, there are a lot of activities you could choose to complement this book. You could discuss seasons and all the jobs that trucks (and people!) do each season. You could talk about community services and all the people needed to run a city.  You could talk about weather and snow. You could talk about art and charcoal drawing. You could talk about the literary device of personifying Katy the tractor.

But I love maps, so the activity I want to highlight today is map reading. There’s a simple map of the town of Geoppolis on pages 6-7 of the book. Spend some time on this map, pointing out the compass. If you have a compass at home, take it outside and have your child move around your house to determine what direction your house is facing. It’s even more fun to bring the compass along for a car ride around town.  It’s fascinating to see what direction you are headed in – you will sometimes be surprised!

Katy and the Big Snow

Take some time going through the numbered flags on the map of Geoppolis. Ask your child to find all the city buildings and also point out where there might be houses, farms, and railroads. Finally, have your child create a map of your own city or neighborhood. This is also a great time to get out an atlas or any other maps you have around the house and introduce your child to road maps, legend,s and more.  I recommend the National Geographic Beginners World Atlas — a must-have for any homeschool library.

Shannon Entin at The Homeschool Post

Shannon Entin (20 Posts)

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FIAR: Snowy Evening Math Photos

This post is part of our monthly series highlighting books and activities from the Five In A Row (FIAR) curriculum.

Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening is a curious poem – challenging for grownups and particularly interesting for kids.

I’m keen on looking for math in our FIAR books, but this time I’m thinking about doing some math in a new way. There’s math in poetry – tons of patterns with the iambic pentameter and such. But this picture book took a short poem (it’s only 16 lines) and added illustrations to give it that extra touch.

Illustrations… hmm…

There’s a classroom teacher who created a math assignment around photography. What a cool project for homeschool families; you can make it as strict or as loose as you want.

He blogged all about the process, including the challenges and results,which makes modifying it for homeschool super easy and fun!

Snowy Evening Math Photos

If you have snow around, use the beautiful images in Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening to inspire a photo field trip in the neighborhood. Use the assignment and rubric from the above links or just go with the flow. Encourage your children to look at the world with math eyes!

I live in Houston, where it snows once every nine years. So I had to depend on Flickr for these examples.

Abstract, curious, math-y!

There’s some fun math in the angle of the snow, and also in the shadow in this pictures. It makes me wonder if the camera is tilted or if the snow is on a hill. Click on the image to get some math thoughts from the photographer.

nail in snow

by windiepink | | CC BY

Mr. Rene’ Descartes would love this one!

Lots of snow, but also some coordinate plane stuff here:

by Jan Tik | | CC BY

by Jan Tik | | CC BY

Blocks and smiley faces!

These look like snow covered blocks – big ones! Fancy math term: rectangular parallelepiped. (Get your two year old to say that – it’s SO cute!)

by plizzba | | CC BY

by plizzba | | CC BY

Graphing animal tracks is fun!

You know how you put a bunch of dots on a grid and then connect them? That’s graphing in math. That’s what these animal tracks look like! Incidentally, this photo is from my favorite Flickr person who has a great collection of math photos!

by woodleywonderworks | | CC BY

by woodleywonderworks | | CC BY

What do your photos look like?

What kinds of math do your kids see in the snow or other weather you might have? Share the links and their thoughts in the comments!

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