Math Literature Connections:   Fall Math Literature

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat

This book by Lucille Colandro is a fun spin on the old lady who swallowed a fly song. Students will enjoy this parody as well.

  • After reading the book, investigate Batty Old Lady Probability, Students spin to collect all of the items the Batty Old Lady swallowed, and tally each spin on the recording sheet. They then calculate the total spins it took them to get all 7 items, and add that figure to the class data. Teachers may help students analyze the class data and learn about probability in the process. The pdf document includes directions, game mat, picture cards, spinner, recording sheet and writing to learn handout.
  • Download Old Lady template to use in retelling the story
  • After reading, enjoy the original There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly book, enjoy the Old Lady and Probability lessons.
  • Use the Old Lady reproducible for students to design their own versions of the story.
  • Use Scholastic's Edible Estimation suggestion to incorporate measurement into this book talk. Scroll down the Scholastic page to locate this section.

The Very Busy Spider

Eric Carle fans will also enjoy The Very Busy Spider and it is a natural introduction to both patterns for younger students or angles for older students.

Ten Apples up on Top

Young students will enjoy Ten Apples up on Top by Theo LeSieg.   The story is amusing to students and they will wonder if the apples will topple.   Because ten is such a pivotal number in our base-ten system, students need many experiences constructing this number.   Consider combining this book with the traditional fall apple theme for a strong math lesson.

Ten Pumpkins up on Top

Create the fall sequel booklet, Ten Pumpkins Up on Top, in which students balance pumpkins on their heads. The pdf file contains a cover and a sample student page that may be copied so that students can draw pictures of themselves in costume, balancing 10 pumpkins. Or, create a class counting booklet with each student balancing increasing numbers of pumpkins, as assigned.

The Biggest Pumpkin Ever

The Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Stephen Kroll would be a great literature connection for the Huge Pumpkin Estimation Station discussed above or to introduce the class pumpkin sorting activity.

Bats on Parade

Bats on Parade by Kathi Appelt is a literary introduction to square numbers and the patterns they form as square arrays.   The bats march in parade formation and different sections of the band, being different sizes, march in different arrays: "In nine rows of nine those trombones reported, while there, right behind them, the tubas retorted."   The pictures and rhyme reinforce the mathematics of the patterns and teachers can easily ask students to predict how many bats will be in the next section or ask them to figure out how many bats are in the whole band before reading those pages.   Add this book to your collection of problem-solving literature prompts.

Bat Jamboree

Bat Jamboree by Kathi Appelt introduces the triangular number pattern as bats assemble for the final number beginning with 10 bats in the bottom row, 9 in the next row, etc. to the very top row with 1 bat.   Students are introduced to the 55 bats in formation and their various acts but the book "isn't over until the bat lady sings."   Students will enjoy this introduction to an important mathematical pattern.

Bats Around the Clock

Bats Around the Clock by Kathi Appelt takes a humorous dance through time.   Click Dark and American Batstand introduce a new dance each hour.   Students move through time, enjoy some rhyme and learn the names of some oldie-but-goodie dances along the way.