Strange Bedfellows: Integrating Mathematics into Library Instruction

Maxwell, D. Jackson, and Robyn F. Maxwell. 2013. “Strange Bedfellows: Integrating Mathematics into Library Instruction.” Library Media Connection 32 (1): 22–23.

According to the authors, the Common Core State Standards “encourage questioning techniques that draw out the ‘why’.” Plus, the CCSS also emphasizes reading informational texts. The authors suggest that librarians can integrate math into the library by asking “library-related, practically formulated math-based questions.” An example would be to have students locate the copyright date and calculate how old the book is. This is more than just asking them a word problem for the sake of it; as a librarian, you could then discuss whether it would be important to find a more recent book, or discuss what life was like when the author wrote the book. This strategy is the most economical because it can be done with any book. Another “free” approach is to teach math while teaching library skills (such as by showing how decimals work with finding a book on shelves organized by the Dewey Decimal System). They also offer suggestions for adding math related books to the collection, particularly books that cut across disciplines and biographies of mathematicians. They end with about 25 suggested math related books, broken into three categories: Primary (K-2), Intermediate (3-6) and Secondary (7-12).

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