Using Picture Books in Math Class – City by Numbers

After reading “Math Workshop in Action” by Dr. Nikki Newton, I knew that I wanted to incorporate more picture books into my math mini lessons.

City By Numbers - incorporating picture books into math mini lessons - perfect for elementary school
“City by Numbers” is a beautiful book written by Stephen T. Johnson. It is essentially a collection of photographs that highlight the numbers 1-21 that can be found in the city. 
I like to start by reading this book as a whole class. I don’t always read the book in the correct order (page 1 then 2, then 3, etc.) Sometimes I mix up the order of the pages. That way students really have to focus to figure out which number is in the picture. In the past I have even turned it into a little competition to see who could discover the number first. 
After reading the book, students complete a photo scavenger hunt. You can do the scavenger hunt as a whole class, or you could have students complete the hunt during a workstation. It is totally up to you!
I like to put students in teams of 3 and then give each team an iPad or a chrome book. I give students a set amount of time to explore the classroom, school or playground and search for numbers. When they find a number, they take a picture of it. 
After students are done the scavenger hunt, I compile all of the photos that they found into a photo collage. Sometimes I do this the low-tech way. I print off the pictures, cut them out and make them into a poster. Other times,  I use a website like Pic Monkey or an app like Pic Collage Kids to create a digital collage. 
Don’t forget to add this book to your Math Picture Books Bin so that students can continue to reference it throughout the year! 
If you like this lesson idea, you might enjoy my “Math Curse” activity pack. You can find it for $1 in my TPT store here. This lesson focuses on math word problems and on helping students to discover the math in everyday life! 
The Math Curse - incorporating technology, critical thinking and cooperative learning into math problem solving - a fun way to incorporate picture books into math!
Have a sweet week!

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