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: 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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FIAR: Robert Frost’s Snowy Evening – Poetry, Art, and 3D Snowflakes

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

Our Five In A Row feature this month is Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. This delightful poem comes alive with beautiful illustrations by Susan Jeffers.

The first time I read this book with my 7-year-old daughter, she was a little confused. The poem starts out: “Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village, though.” By that second page, my daughter was asking “Whose house is in the village?” I quickly realized that she expected to hear a story and was not very familiar with poetry.

I rewrote the poem on a piece of paper. This helped her to see the rhythm and rhyme. Poetry can be difficult to define, but demonstrating some of the tools used (rhythm, rhyme, alliteration, repetition) will help your child gain an understanding.

Next we talked about the artwork in the book and how, for the most part, we see a bird’s-eye view. I asked my daughter to create a picture from a bird’s-eye view and a short poem to go along with it. We used this free online rhyming dictionary to help.

Another wonderful project you can do with Frost’s poem is a 3-D snowflake. This is a more advanced project, but it’s great to do as a family having the older children help the younger ones. And these snowflakes look gorgeous decorating your house. Be sure to try them using various paper colors! Tip: a hot glue gun works better than tape.

3D Snowflake

Shannon Entin at The Homeschool Post

Shannon Entin (20 Posts)

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