Monday, June 10, 2013


Math Mentor Text Linky!

Hello friends!  I am linking up with Collaboration Cuties for their Math "Must Read Mentor Text" Linky Party.  

The challenge is, which book?  There are so many to choose from.  I love linking literature to math, especially when it helps children think about a concept in a different way.  One of the best examples of this is "How Big is a Foot?" by Rolf Myller.

We start our customary measurement unit with Shel Silverstein's poem, "One Inch Tall".  

One Inch Tall by Shel Silverstein
If you were only one inch tall, you'd ride a worm to school.
The teardrop of a crying ant would be your swimming pool.
A crumb of cake would be a feast
And last you seven days at least,
A flea would be a frightening beast
If you were one inch tall.

If you were only one inch tall, you'd walk beneath the door,
And it would take about a month to get down to the store.
A bit of fluff would be your bed,
You'd swing upon a spider's thread,
And wear a thimble on your head
If you were one inch tall.

You'd surf across the kitchen sink upon a stick of gum.
You couldn't hug your mama, you'd just have to hug her thumb.
You'd run from people's feet in fright,
To move a pen would take all night,
(This poem took fourteen years to write--
'Cause I'm just one inch tall).

We have a great time brainstorming what life would be like if we were one inch tall.  Then, on a square inch piece of paper, the students draw a head-to-toe self portrait.  Then, they draw a scene of what they could do if they were one inch tall.  So fun!

Next we read "How Big is a Foot?"  The question is a good one.  And the story tries to answer the question, but the answer is not perfectly clear.  It depends upon answers to other questions like "How big is the bed?", "How big is the King's foot?", and "How big is the foot of a small apprentice carpenter?" 

The story really makes you think about how to solve this problem. And it naturally leads you to conclude how important it was to standardize measurement.  

We then take our shoes off and trace our feet on construction paper.  The students decorate their feet.  

I randomly choose one foot and we map out the Queen's bed with masking tape.  Pretending to be the Queen, with my crown, I attempt to lie in the bed.  Of course I don't fit! Next we measure how many feet it would take to make the Queen (me!) a bed.  

The final part of the lesson is gluing each foot onto construction paper and drawing a straight line to represent a standard foot.  They measure their "foot" and label it's length.  For example:
Avery's foot = 6 inches.  To take it a step further, you could graph the foot lengths of all the students in your class!

I love this lesson!  I hope you will to!


  1. What a FUN post ... thanks, Diane. I'm always looking for ways to integrate math and character development and there's a book on my shelf that would fit perfectly ... One Thousand Tracings by Lita Judge. Check it out ... I think you'll agree that your lesson and Lita's book would make the perfect pair.

    The Corner On Character

  2. I LOVE this lesson!!! Being away from math for a few years, this was just the post I needed to read today!!
    Thank you so much for sharing!! I'm headed over to Amazon to pick up these books now (as if I need any more books!)

    Thanks again!
    Koonce’s Korner

  3. Oh wow! This is great! I have this book and I have so many, that I didn't use it this year, but I love the way that you used it and I think I will try this next year! I love that you start with the poem! I need to slow down sometimes and remember to do things like this! This is a great reminder!

    I'm so glad that you linked up!!
    Collaboration Cuties

  4. You your lesson and book look adorable! I will need to use this next year!!

  5. What a great activity! I haven't read this book before, and it sounds like fun. I also love the one inch activity!

    Learning With Mrs. Brinn

  6. This is great. Kids seem to have the hardest time estimating how big something is, and despite several lessons on inches, feet and measuring, when asked to estimate how big a door is their answers range from 1 foot to 100 feet. I mean, c'mon guys, 100 feet?

    If I could get them to think about feet outside of just doing a math worksheet, I think that would help them internalize it a bit more.

  7. Love this, Moxie girl!! Totally using this next year!!

    Third Grade & Lovin' It

    1. Thank you for the shout-out on Facebook! You're the best!


  8. I love this book for measurement but I hate that they won't publish the book in a larger size. Why does it have to be so small? That makes it hard for everyone to see the pictures but it still provides many teaching points.
    ❤ Karen
    Flamingo Fabulous in Second Grade

  9. Thank you very much for sharing.


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