Jamie Marshall

Jamie is a primary Maths Lead Practitioner, who has been teaching for over 10 years. He is really keen on helping teachers to grow through the Lesson Study approach.

He will happily find any excuse to dress-up in the classroom and actually prefers ssh…reading to mathematics.

Read book reviews, author interviews, and find teaching ideas for books on his blog.

Follow Jamie on Twitter – @Jamie61116

The introduction of OFSTED’s new Education Inspection Framework (EIF) last year saw a reintroduction of thematic reviews and a greater focus on reading. This could strike quantitative fear in a maths teacher’s cool numeric heart, as their subject is put in the ‘bin’. However, it got me thinking, as an experienced teacher and one who has seen many themed days/weeks over the years, mathematics is notoriously the most difficult one to fit seamlessly into a often book driven theme. But does this really mean with a focus on reading, that maths will get exponentially shoved into a right-angled corner?

All teachers must remember that the original National Curriculum states that children should: ‘apply their mathematical knowledge to science and other subjects.’ (September 2013). So how do you do this? Many maths concepts are retained in a child’s memory because of over learning – that is coming back to something again and again, so linking a mathematical concept to a book that you can read again and again or a least study for a period of time has great advantages. Many books can be linked in some way into one of the four mathematical topics (number, geometry, measurement and statistics), whereas, some even have a mathematical theme, and these are the ones I’m going to focus on to give you some ideas.

In my last two whole school Maths Days I have used the following books:

If The World Were a Village by David J Smith

The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett

Both of these worked really well across the whole school and gave all the different age groups plenty of scope for studying mathematics from the book as well as linking it into other subjects.

And, here are a selection of other (mainly fiction) books that I have come across which are clearly mathematics-based, ranging from counting to 1 to a million and some other non-number based mathematics topics:

Mathematics-based Books

Mr Magnolia

by Quentin Blake

The Three Little Pigs

by Ronne Randall

One Gorilla

by Anthony Browne

Ten Little Dinosaurs

by Mike Brownlow

Count to 10

by Kee Moerbeek

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

by Eric Carle

One Is A Snail and Ten Is A Crab

by April Pulley Sayre and Jeff Sayre

501 Things to Find

Over 1000 Fantastic Facts

by Miles Kelly

How Much Is A Million?

by David M Schwartz

How Big Is A Million?

by Anna Milbourne

A Reminder of One

by Elinor J Pinczes

A Very Improbable Story

by Edward Einhorn

Multiplying Menace The Revenge of Rumpelstiltskin

by Pam Calvert

I hope this gives you some ideas for how to teach mathematics through fiction books, as there are some amazing ones out there. If you have successfully used any of the books I have mentioned or used any other fiction books to teach mathematics it would be great to hear from you. Finally, if you are looking for more specific ideas, then this website is amazing and gives you a wide selection of books for every topic in mathematics: