Children's Books for Algebra 2 Part 2

Children's books are a great way to get students interested in your content. Picking the right book is more difficult for the topic area. Here are three more children's books perfect for Algebra 2 class.

We are Growing by Laurie Keller

This book shows grass growing, yes literally. A theme the book has is that being unique is okay and that everyone is different.

A great math topic for using this book would be introducing unit rates or graphing linear functions. You could have some real grass growing in different stages per day and ask them if grass growing is linear or not? It would be a good exploratory lesson on linear functions.

You can further go into graphing and think about what non-linear grass would look like? How long would it take to cut the grass?

Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae

The giraffe believes he can't dance, but with words of encouragement he learns that he can dance in his own way.

In the book there are a bunch of different animals dancing. It would be a perfect time to look into transformations, you can look at it in a variety of different ways from linear transformations to parabolic transformations.

It will be good for students to look for similarities and differences. With the book you can even include more social learning skills learning about kindness and encouraging others.

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

Dragons love tacos. They love chicken tacos, beef tacos, great big tacos, and teeny tiny tacos. So if you want to lure a bunch of dragons to your party, you should definitely serve tacos. Buckets and buckets of tacos. Unfortunately, where there are tacos, there is also salsa. And if a dragon accidentally eats spicy salsa . . . oh, boy. You're in red-hot trouble.

In the classroom this book would be a great introduction to probability. You could talk about what goes in a taco. What ingredients it would take, alternatives, how many different types of tacos are there?

My Favorite: Marshmallow Catapult

When graphing parabolas I had lots of students ask when are we going to use this. One way I wanted to answer the question was by getting their hands dirty and make things. As of lately I have been big into the maker push, where students learn best by building and making things.

Next year I will teach and introduce the catapult at the same time, but this year I used it as more of an activity in between graphing parabolas and solving parabolas.

To start we watched this video to get their interested sparked:

Students received 10 popsicle sticks, one spoon, and 7 rubber bands. Their challenge was to create a catapult that will launch a marshmallow more times than any other group. Once students have created their catapult they will test and launch a marshmallow.

Students will take a burst photo and combine these photos on an app called SplitPic. On SplitPic you can have multiple photos overlapped onto one image. Students will put this in Desmos and find the equation of the parabola.

Students will use this picture in a Seesaw activity.  They had to describe the graph of the parabola and what it meant, how using the graph would help them, and do you need to change anything?

Here were some example blog posts:

The next day I gave students 10 minutes to practice, then we put their catapults to the challenge of getting as many shots into a paper bag as possible.  Here were some of the photos of our competition.