BOOK to School: Getting in Some Math

Math response to literature in a digital distance learning format

In this episode of BOOK to School we will use the book A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars  (my affiliate link to Amazon) to get a little beginning of the year math thinking in.  This is an easy lesson that the kids are sure to love, as they will be working with numbers that deal with their favorite subject -- themselves!

This book talks about the VERY large numbers that are surrounding us in our daily lives, specifically as a resident of Earth.  How many stars there are.  How many people there are.  How much each of those things weighs together.   It is a fun look at what can be really daunting numbers.

So, piggy backing on that, I thought it would be fun to look at the large numbers in the lives of our students.  Since I teach 3rd grade, my goal was to keep those numbers smaller than 10,000, as the kids really need to be dealing with numbers within that range.  They need to be able to round up to the thousands place, add up numbers to the thousands place, subtract...well, you get the picture.  In order to get the kids thinking about numbers that are within that range, I sat down and brainstormed things around them that would fall between 0 and 9,999.  

Their age
The combined ages of several friends/family members
Birth Year
Their height (in inches AND centimeters)
The combined heights of everyone in class
Minutes of school (or of a specific subject/homework)
Current grade
Combination of all grade levels been in so far
House/School Number

I also wanted to tie in the book numbers, so these questions popped up in my head:

How many pages in the book currently reading?
How many times you can jump in a minute?
How long you can hold your breath?
How many lights are in your house?

After brainstorming a few ideas, I gave the students a little "worksheet" so they could start thinking about the big numbers around them.  Because this is the beginning of the year, I didn't want the kids doing too much actual math (as I don't know exactly what they do and don't know at this particular juncture) but I want the to do a *little*.  So the worksheet is a combination of both plug in the number and do a little computation before you plug it in.  This is a play on the "Math About Me" worksheets that are all over the place.  This one just happens to go along with the read aloud.  
Using a picture book to get a little math in at the beginning of the year.

Here is a copy of the same sheet, just with no suggested categories in it.  You can customize this to fit the needs of your students.  

As an added bonus, I want the kids to add a picture of themselves in.  So, they can simply take a picture and add it in on the empty space on the side of the workspace.  OR they can remove the background on their picture like I did!  

Kids can add a picture of themselves to their work using to take out any background fluff

To do this, have the students upload a picture to   It is a super simple site that literally takes the background out of the picture.  Then, they redownload that picture to their desktop (or if on a chromebook, to their Google Drive) and insert it into the file!

Want some more BOOK to School activities to use the first few weeks of school?  You can find them linked here! (all of the instructions and digital files are there for you!)

1 comment

  1. I teach 5th grade middle school math and this is a great activity to use with them!!! Thank you!


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