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Teaching Maths through Stories?

sarz93 31 October 2013 16:13

Hi :) i was wondering if i could gain some advice.

I am about to start my dissertation and was keen to look at maths with a focus on 'teaching maths through children's stories'.

I was wondering if anyone had any opinions on this? Whether it be advantages or disadvantages?

I am also looking for any good books that people could recommend, and if this is something that would be taught just EYFS or throughout all Key Stages?

Your advice would be much appreciated.


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greyengine 31 October 2013 18:33

I definitely wouldn't limit it to EYFS.  There are all sorts of books around which can be used.  They can be very useful in engaging children, making links to other subjects in cross curricular work and giving the maths a context.  I have a pinterest board with lots of different maths books for all sorts of areas of maths.  If you want to look at it, it's at http://www.pinterest.com/janpringle/maths-story-and-picture-books/.  Some of my favourites are 'Walter's Windy Washing Line' in which each page has lots of uses for maths to spot, 'How Big is a Million' in which a little penguin tries to find out what a milllion looks like (probably aimed at youngish children but I've found KS2 children love it too) and 'The Rabbit Problem' which is a lovely engaging book which looks at the Fibonacci series.  

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Tim_Stirrup 31 October 2013 19:27

You might also want to take a look at Ko's Journey www.kosjourney.com which is a website from the USA that uses a story in a particular way.

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sarz93 01 November 2013 12:44

Thank you for your prompt replies :) it has given me some more thought. 

I was also wondering whether this is something that you would address with every new aspect of maths or just once in a while? 


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k.nicholls 30 November 2013 14:52


 Definitely advantageous.  My class did some amazing maths linked to Harry Potter.  They designed packaging for new wizard sweets and then explored different nets they could use.  They  made their own wands having to measure them carefully in centimetres with a ruler and then converted these to inches like in the books.  They also made wizard biscuits for the feats and worked out how much these cost to make.  My class loved it and the mahs they did was amazing

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Lorna 13 January 2014 22:22
In the recent course 'Developing effective mathematics in the EYFS' (Buckinghamshire Learning Trust) we talked about how every story is an opportunity for mathematics.
These are some of the ideas we shared:
• Counting and making number labels
• Doubling (‘The Elves and the Shoemaker’)
• Number bonds to 10 (‘Ten in a Bed’)
• Weighing (‘The Great Pet Sale’)
• Measuring length (‘Jack and the Beanstalk’)
• Patterns – fruit kebabs
• Sorting (‘Pants’)
• Collecting data and recording it in a graph
• Estimating (‘Handa’s Surprise’)
• Describing a journey and creating a map (‘Rosie’s Walk’ or ‘The Gingerbread Man’)
• And most stories can be turned into a board game where the events in the story happen along the track
Hope that helps.
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BarbaraSchindelhauer 14 January 2014 12:25

I'm a little late with my answer but this might still be interesting:

There is a concept that wraps the basic numbers and shapes into one big story.  The idea is to take children on a journey to a land where the numbers 1 to 10 live as nice characters, each living in her geometrically shaped garden and having things to tell.  The children actually build these gardens with all-day material on the floor, interact and talk a lot, can listen to the numbers' stories, sing number songs, do all sorts of activities related to the specific numbers.

Scientific research on the project revealed that children advance rapidly, both in terms of mathematical thinking and language. The concept has become quite established in Germany, yet teachers applying it in the UK are also quite happy with Numberland.

You may find all details on www.numberland.net

Or have a look at the NCETM Early Years journal https://www.ncetm.org.uk/resources/21692

Best wishes for your dissertation


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student1602865 09 January 2019 11:46

Hi did you do your dissertation on this? I'm thinking of doing teaching maths through stories in KS2. Any ideas for literature?

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Davinder 29 December 2019 16:47

University of Reading has research on Maths Through Stories and has done workshops around UK - take a look at their website: 'mathsthroughstories.org' 



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