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It’s a Great Story!

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Math. It’s a Great Story!. Cynthia Miller. MATU 206 Professor Hanan Chapman University. Stories have always been a part of human existence. Why stories?. It is the way we have come to understand our world. The human mind works in stories.

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It’s a Great Story!

Cynthia Miller

MATU 206

Professor Hanan

Chapman University


Why stories?

  • It is the way we have come to understand our world.
  • The human mind works in stories.
  • If we don’t understand, we make a story in our mind.
  • Science is a story –

Story of how the universe came to exist.


NCTM Standards

  • NCTM argues that there is an aesthetic art to mathematics.
  • “Literature helps express the thought that math represents shapes, designs, events and sets in multiple ways.”
  • “We should incorporate writing, drawing and discussion to represent math in different ways.”

California Frameworks

  • “Students who understand the aesthetics and beauty of mathematics will have a deep understanding of how mathematics enriches their lives.”
  • “Students who can see the interdependence of mathematics and music, art, architecture, science, philosophy, and other disciplines will become lifelong students of mathematics regardless of the career they pursue.”


Myths Busted

  • Math stories are not frivolous, but supportive of mathematical understanding.
  • Math stories are not interruptions but the catalyst to query and exploration.

Stories and Mathematics

  • Stories make mathematics come alive.
  • Using literature shows the students that mathematics is a natural communication system.
  • Show that math is a tool for helping us live, learn, and explore our world.
  • Math is a way of solving real-life problems, and a source of pleasure and recreation.

Relating to Math Stories

  • Math stories help students relate math to their own personal narratives.
  • Literature gives the student an opportunity to take a basic story and transform it into their own story.
  • They can relate the math stories to things that they are interested in and that makes sense to them.

What are math stories?

  • Picture books that have a mathematics theme.
  • Picture books and short stories possessing a problem-solving theme.
  • Novels that contain opportunities to discuss mathematics or problem-solving.
  • Poems with a mathematical theme.
  • Share stories that invite students to investigate – to reach out and touch the subject.

How to Read Math Stories

  • Enjoy the story.
  • Read aloud at least once, usually more.
  • Read it all the way through the first time.
  • Ask open-ended questions.
  • Exploratory activities and responses.
  • Group work.
  • Have books available for personal reading.

Math Stories in the Classroom

  • Problem-posing to reinforce problem-solving.
  • Capitalize on doubt and skepticism.
  • Invite personal connections.
  • Take students’ interest into consideration.
  • Integrate into other subjects if possible.

Open-Ended Questions

  • Who would like to say something about this story?
  • What did you think about this story?
  • What did this story make you wonder about?
  • Compare this story to some concepts we have already explored?
  • What could you change to get a different answer?
  • Can you predict the outcome if we changed ______?

Responding to Math Stories

Offer exploratory choices in responding to stories.

  • Create a game.
  • Make an illustration.
  • Interview an adult about the concept.
  • Write a letter to someone about the concept.
  • Rewrite the story with their own details.
  • Share puzzles and challenges.

Collaborative Community of Mathematical Explorers

  • Encourage students to talk about parts they didn’t understand.
  • Listen, acknowledge, and expand on the students’ perspectives.
  • Support different explanations.
  • Follow the students’ lead – giving students ownership over exploration.
  • Encourage hypothesis.