Tag Archives: math

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Bibliographic Information:

Haddon, Mark (2008). The curious incident of the dog in the night-time. New York: Vintage Books.

Plot Description: Christopher is a brilliant 15 year old math genius, whose autism makes some aspects of daily life, like interacting with other people, difficult. On one of Christopher’s night-time strolls through the neighborhood he discovers that Mrs. Shear’s dog, Wellington has been killed. Christopher resolves to find the killer, despite his father’s warnings to let it go. Christopher shares all his musings and the rationales behind everything he does as he takes readers along on his daily routine and attempts to sole the mysterious death. In pursuit of Wellington’s murderer, Christopher discovers clues to his own family’s secrets, which will turn his world upside down and lead him on journey.

Quantitative Reading Level : Lexile Measure: 1180L, ATOS Book Level: 5.4 , Interest Level: Upper Grades (9-12), AR Points: 10

Qualitative Reading Analysis: First person narrative from the point of view of a 15 year old boy who is autistic. It is told in stream of conscious, as if the narrator were telling the reader everything that he was thinking and not holding anything back. He is very straight forward and easy to understand. Even though the narrator does not lie, since he believes it is wrong, he is sometimes unreliable because he does not have all the facts or does not always understand the facts. Metaphors and sarcasm are used by adult characters, which are not understood by the narrator who takes everything literally. The vocabulary is contemporary and familiar. The narrator explains anything that would not be common knowledge (and some things that are). The sentences are mostly simple and compound, with some complex construction too. The organization of chapters are non-traditional. There are some very short chapters, less than a page even and the chapters are only prime numbers. This is because the narrator likes prime numbers, which he explains in chapter 19. The story is told chronologically, except when explicitly stated by the narrator that he is referring to something in the past. There are little graphics, charts, tables and illustrations throughout the book to help the narrator explain different concepts and events.

Content Area: English, Math

Content Area Standard: CA CCSS English Language Arts: Reading Standards for Literature 6–12 Craft and Structure

3.Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters/archetypes are introduced and developed).

English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Literature

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.6 Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (e.g., satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement).

High School Geometry: Similarity, Right Triangles, & Trigonometry

Prove theorems involving similarity CCSS.Math.Content.HSG.SRT.B.4 Prove theorems about triangles. Theorems include: a line parallel to one side of a triangle divides the other two proportionally, and conversely; the Pythagorean Theorem proved using triangle similarity.

Curriculum Suggestions: Students can analyze the organization of the story and it’s unusual chapters. They can also compare and contrast the story with the common elements of mystery or detective genres. Have students look for examples of figurative language in the text and explain how this language is perceived by the narrator. Students can research autism to better understand what Christopher is dealing with in his everyday life. Students can incorporate art by designing a new cover for the novel or illustrating a scene from the story. Have students write about an event in Christopher’s style. Have students learn about some of the science or math concepts that Christopher talks about. For example, research formulas and rules needed to solve the triangle math problem in the appendix.

Supporting Digital Content:




Awards: Carnegie Medal, YALSA Top Ten, Costa/Whitbread Children’s Award, Alex Award, ALA Best Book for Young Adults, Booklist Editors’ Choice, Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize

Character names/descriptions: Christopher who is very gifted at mathematics, but struggles with day to day life. His father with whom he lives. Siobhan the teacher with whom he discusses everything. Mrs. Shear the neighbor whose dog is killed.

High interest annotation: Christopher is the fifteen year old Autistic narrator, whose search for the killer of Wellington (the neighbor’s dog), leads him to uncover secrets about his own family.

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A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Bibliographic Information:

Hawking, Stephen (1998). A brief history of time. New York: Bantam Books.

Plot Description: Brilliant scientist Stephen Hawking attempts to lay out, as the title implies, a brief history of time and our universe for the ‘average’ reader. He is taking on a difficult task, because his theories require a depth of scientific knowledge, not possessed by most people. Hawking begins with a look at our universe’s past and how our perception of it has been ever evolving throughout human history. He discusses the how and why of the beginning of our universe with the Big Bang and if, how and why the universe will end. Hawking delves into many fascinating aspects of time and space.

Quantitative Reading Level : Lexile Measure: 1290L, ATOS Book Level: 10.5, Interest Level: Upper Grades (9-12)

Qualitative Reading Analysis: This book is written for people who are not scientists, but it is by no means an easy text to comprehend. All the scientific vocabulary and concepts are explained, but readers may still have difficulty understanding the explanations of concepts without a foundation in scientific knowledge and ideas. Knowledge of concepts related to space and time would be particularly helpful in understanding the book. The author does provide many analogies from everyday life situations to illustrate the basic ideas behind difficulty concepts. The text structure is exceedingly complex in that connections between an extensive range of ideas, processes or events are deep, intricate and often ambiguous and organization is intricate and discipline-specific. The text is very complex in its use of graphics. Tables, charts and graphs support understanding of the text. Vocabulary is complex, subject specific and academic in places and conversational in others. Sentences are composed of several subordinate clauses with transition words and are complex. The purpose of the book is clearly to educate people about the universe, but it includes many theoretical or abstract elements. The subject matter relies on extensive levels of discipline specific and theoretical knowledge, which includes a range of challenging abstract concepts. Many references are made to outside ideas and theories. The author attempts to explain these theories and concepts, but many students may have difficulty understanding, even with the aid of the author’s explanations and graphics.

Content Area: Science (Physics), Reading

Content Area Standard: California’s Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for Grades Nine through Twelve

HS-ESS1-2. Construct an explanation of the Big Bang theory based on astronomical evidence of light spectra, motion of distant galaxies, and composition of matter in the universe.

HS-ESS1-3. Communicate scientific ideas about the way stars, over their life cycle, produce elements.

HS-ESS1-4. Use mathematical or computational representations to predict the motion of orbiting objects in the solar system.

Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects 6–12

CCSS RST.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account.

Curriculum Suggestions: Have students create a comic book to explain a concept from the book. Discuss or write essays on various topics from the book with textual evidence for support, such as examining the different dimensions of the universe or the possibilities of time travel.

Supporting Digital Content: 


Character names/descriptions: None. It is about concepts, rather than characters.

Personal Thoughts: This book was a little too scientific for me in parts and I had difficulty with many of the concepts. I think this book would be difficult for most high school students. From what I understood, the ideas sound fascinating and I would be interested in reading the simplified or illustrated versions of the book and perhaps using those with students instead.

High interest annotation: Discover the complexities of the universe through the mind of a brilliant scientist.

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Lyle Walks the Dogs by Bernard Waber

Bibliographic Information:

Waber, Bernard (2010). Lyle walks the dogs: A counting book. New York: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children.

Plot Description: Readers can follow along as Lyle the crocodile’s dog-walking business grows. He does such a wonderful job walking the dogs that his services become very popular and he gets more and more dogs to walk. Lyle starts his business with only one dog to walk on the first day, then on the second day her gets a second dog to walk along with the first, and so on, until he gets to the tenth day and walks ten dogs. Readers count the dogs each day Lyle works, eventually counting up to ten. At the end of the book readers count all the dogs to make sure none of them got away from Lyle and he still has ten dogs.

Quantitative Reading Level : Lexile Measure: N/A , ATOS Book Level: 1.8, Interest Level: Lower Grades (K-3)

Qualitative Reading Analysis: This book seems appropriate to read to students who are learning to count. Each page has an additional dog that Lyle is walking that day and readers count one number higher. On the first day the first dog is introduced, then the second dog on the second day and readers count the dogs, 1-2, etc, for ten days and ten dogs. At the end the reader counts the dogs from one to ten to make sure none of the dogs are missing. The sentence structure is simple, but some of the vocabulary may be a little difficult for students in beginning grades. Some examples are snappish, frisky, pokey, coaxed, yearning, etc. Experiences portrayed are everyday and common to readers, as walking dogs or seeing others walking them will be normal for readers. However, a crocodile who has a job walking dogs is highly unusual. Personification is used to give the crocodile human traits and characteristics.

Content Area: Math (Basic-Counting), Reading

Content Area Standard: English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Literature

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.7 With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).

CA CCSS Mathematics Standards: Counting and Cardinality K.CC

Count to tell the number of objects.

  1. Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality.
  2. When counting objects, say the number names in the standard order, pairing each object with one and only one number name and each number name with one and only one object.
  3. Understand that the last number name said tells the number of objects counted. The number of objects is the same regardless of their arrangement or the order in which they were counted.
  4. Understand that each successive number name refers to a quantity that is one larger.
  5. Count to answer “how many?” questions about as many as 20 things arranged in a line, a rectangular array, or a circle, or as many as 10 things in a scattered configuration; given a number from 1–20, count out that many objects.

Curriculum Suggestions: Students practice counting along with the story as Lyle takes on new dogs each day in his ever growing dog walking business. Ask students how many dogs Lyle is walking throughout the story as the number changes. Use game on back cover to do matching and counting activities.

Supporting Digital Content: 


Series information: Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile

Character names/descriptions: Lyle the helpful Crocodile and the many dogs he walks

Personal Thoughts: The last Lyle, Lyle Crocodile book brings Lyle to younger readers. The repetition of numbers will be useful in counting practice and the illustrations will hold children’s interest.

High interest annotation: Help Lyle keep track of the dogs by counting as he starts a dog walking business.

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Filed under Math Picture Book