*[Photo and story by Nick Johnson.]*

Celebrate Math Storytelling Day by making up and sharing math stories. Everyone loves a story, so this is a great way to motivate your children to play around with math. What might a math story involve? Patterns, logic, history, puzzles, relationships, fictional characters, … and yes, even numbers.

What story will you tell?

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Oh boy, do I dare? I would love to share the math stories I made up and the many games to play with them at Arithmetic Village. There are videos and pictures, lots of math play..;)

Thank you for coming by, Kimberly!

The stories on your blog about the arithmetic village class sound fun. I bet the littles at our homeschool co-op would enjoy a class like that…

Years ago, my son David (a highschooler at the time) wrote a story for little kids that underscored the idea that counting is at all possible. The counting is possible only because there is a unique number – whatever it is – associated to every finite set of objects. This number can be obtained by counting objects in the set, regardless of how one goes about the counting business.

Later on I added a couple of stories in the same spirit that show that some properties of arithmetic operations are a natural outgrowth of the built-in properties of counting.

Here’s a link http://www.cut-the-knot.org/ForYoung/Introduction.shtml

What fun stories! As I read them, I couldn’t help but think they belonged in a picture book.

You should totally consider turning the stories into picture books! There are so few for math, lots of counting books, an insane number of alphabet books, but very few stories about math! :)

Dear Denise and Kimberly,

thank you for taking the time and the kind words. I appreciate that very much.

I shall let the idea of making a book germinate; not that I did not think of that before. Writing children books always seemed too remote from what I was and what I was occupied with. It may be that of late the ideas and the reality began to converge.

I shall value any advice you may share.

Alexander

Kimberly,

I would love to see the stories you made up. At least one? Please?!!

Alexander, some of Natural Math people are working on a “coop book publishing” project where we will organize some of the services publishers provide together. Your stories are astonishing. What if we let kids illustrate them and issued them as ebook and paper book collections?

Denise, I added you to the map of people who celebrated this year. Hooray for math stories!

http://naturalmath.wikispaces.com/Math+Story+Day+2010

Maria, thank you.

One evening last week I have mentioned during the supper the episode of my commenting at this blog and what Denise and Kimberly wrote in response. My other son Eli, who is 11, immediately volunteered to provide the illustrations. Eli draws well and likes to draw so I and my wife piped in approving of the idea. (I added a couple of his sketches to David’s page.) He is certainly able to do that. I am not sure he will because it’s all a game for him and he mostly draws from inspiration and not to order. I brought to his attention that you suggested that other kids can do that. This had challenged him and spurred him on, definitely. Let’s see if I’d be able to ride the wave. If not, I’ll be happy to get other kids involved. In any event, if and when it comes to publishing I shall keep your suggestion in mind.

Alexander, I added you and your sons to the map and the first part of the story, and the monkey picture, to the page: http://naturalmath.wikispaces.com/Math+Story+Day+2010 I hope it’s OK with you. This monkey rocks!

Maybe Eli can coordinate the illustration project when he gets tired of doing it himself. That can be an interesting collaboration for children. My daughter who is 12 loved to draw too – she may join!

Maria,

Eli insists that the first story should go under David’s name with him as a sole illustrator. Glory to the borthers. We retrieved several of his baby books. To follow their format, there need to be a picture for each paragraph. For the first story it comes to 24 pictures. Eli plans on producing one a week. Let’s see what he makes of it in 2-3 weeks.

Alex

Excellent plan, Alex! Will he upload pictures as he goes so people can comment? Somewhere people can subscribe to, so we can follow updates. Like a blog ;-) The result can be formatted as a little book and published under Creative Commons.

Letting people comment is a great idea. The danger though that it may take as much longer. But the boy is sociable and spends a lot of time on the web. He may like it. I’ll broach this to him when his back from school.