Check Out the Math: One Elementary School’s Library-Based Math Program

Lambert, Nancy Jo. 2013. “Check Out the Math: One Elementary School’s Library-Based Math Program.” School Library Journal. September 12.

A school librarian created a new statistics word problem each month, posted it in the library, and invited students to participate. The word problems were all based on real library statistics: how many books were overdue, number of bookshelves needed. In many elementary schools, all classes visit the library every week or every other week. This is a great way to show students how math is connected with everyday life, participate and discuss problem-solving together.

Lesson Overview

Students are invited to participate in an optional activity in the library, where they respond to a statistics question that changes each month. The questions address solving real questions or problems in the school’s library. Students must write out their problem-solving technique. Students with the correct answer may receive a library-related benefit, like an extra check out.

Lesson Goals:

  • Students can apply different strategies to solve statistics word problems.

Lesson Plan Materials

  • Create statistics word problems using your library’s real statistics and problems, and consult with your teachers to have them provide you with feedback about the questions and possible solutions.

Common Core State Standards this Lesson Supports

  • CCSS.Math.Practice.MP1 Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  • CCSS.Math.Practice.MP2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner

  • AASL 2.1.3 Use strategies to draw conclusions from information and apply knowledge to curricular areas, real-world situations, and further investigations.