The album is often associated with a story to be told with the support of illustrations kids learning. But it can be a great way to grasp the concept of number in another way and build bridges with other disciplines.
The term “math books” covers a large number of books. We can include “classic” albums without mathematical intention initially but which develop mathematical logic in general. For example, Goldilocks and the three bears allow you to count up to 3, to compare the small, the medium, the large, to explore the materials (hot, cold, hard, soft), to find your way around space (kitchen, bedroom, forest). But there are also albums specially written to help students build their mathematical learning. In this article, I will only present albums of this type. We could distinguish two types of math albums:
Albums to counts
They allow you to count more or less large quantities, learn the sequence of numbers in ascending or descending order, and associate ciphered writing with the collection.
Albums to calculate
They offer simple problem situations inviting the child to make small calculations or to develop his logic and very easy drawing for kids. The albums often straddle the two categories. I offer a selection allowing you to “take a tour” of the primary skills to be mastered in numbering in kindergarten.
Mom ! by Mario Ramos
Count and know the sequence of numbers up to 10, associate the encrypted writing with a collection. A great classic! In few words (it is the case to say it!) And through colorful and funny illustrations, Mario Ramos tells us a story with an unexpected and funny fall.
While looking for his mother throughout the house, a child comes across groups of increasingly large numbers of animals. You can search for the number corresponding to the collection represented, more or less hidden in the image on each page.
1, 2, 3 small cats knew how to count to 3, by Michel Van Zeveren.
Count and know the sequence of numbers up to 3, make distributions, compare collections. A mother cat takes care of her three kittens at home, but she always forgets something when it comes to eating, taking a bath, going to sleep. At mealtime, for example, one of the kittens does not have a spoon, the other does not have a placemat, etc.
This album can count small collections and learn the sequence “1, 2, 3”. But it is even more interesting to introduce the notion of distribution to the very young: give each kitten the same quantity of objects, find the missing thing by comparing the collections. We can also look for how many objects are missing “to make three.”
Ten Little Seeds, by Ruth Brown
Count up to 10, know the sequence of numbers descending order, remove an element from a collection. We follow the “course,” often tiny seeds sown in nature. A small origin is lost (eaten by an animal, broken by a balloon. In the end, only one source remains, which has become a flower, which in turn wilts and gives ten new seeds.
Like in Mom!, the text is limited to the essential (the author handles the ellipse very well).
The book is scientifically interesting to discover the different stages of plant growth on each new page, but it also allows you to count and state the sequence of numbers in descending order. Students see the entire collection on each double-page spread, but the seed/plant that is going to be removed is highlighted. The author represents it a little isolated, drawn differently: a beautiful pictorial representation of the subtraction before they can schematize and assimilate it!
I am 1 year + 1 year + 1 year + 1 year (Boris), from Mathis
Count up to 4, understand the additive decomposition of a number, designate a set of different objects.
Boris is four years old, but he prefers to say that he is one year + 1 year + 1 year + 1 year. That way, he can have four cakes and four gifts! This small album from the “Boris” collection allows you to approach the additive decomposition of a number and the notion of equivalence in an original way. Indeed, his four gifts are in turn: a robot head, a robot belly, robot arms, robot legs … We can discuss with the children to see if it is better to have four small gifts, or just one big one and realize that if Boris had said “I’m 4”, he would have had the same thing!
In the second part of the story, Boris asks his robot to count different elements of a collection (a ball, a skittle). The robot relies correctly on on but says “something stupid” to designate the terms of the group (“three andouilles,” for example). We can discuss it with the children: can we count different objects together? In this case, how to designate the whole? It introduces the concept of category: the robot could have said “three toys” instead.
By Bus, by Byron Barton
Count up to 10, add or subtract items from a collection, compare collections. Cats and dogs gradually board a bus, then descend to take other means of locomotion. This album is perfect for illustrating the addition or removal of one or more items in a collection. The pupils quickly play the game of counting the number of animals leaving or remaining and making their first calculations. The album is also enjoyable because it presents two different groups (dogs/cats), which makes it possible to count either specific collections or all the set elements (animals). It also helps to develop the vocabulary of means of transport.
One, two, three mice, by Ellen Stoll Walsh
Count up to 10, know the sequence of numbers in ascending and descending order, compare collections, add several groups, look for complements to 10.
A snake catches mice to eat them and puts them in a jar to get more. In the end, the mice knock over the pot and escape one by one (I hope you don’t mind spoiling the suspense by telling you the ending).
We can fully exploit this album at the mathematical level: count the little mice in each group in ascending order (when he puts them in the jar) or descending (when they escape). We can compare groups of mice. When did the snake take the most / the least of them all at once? Are there groups of identical mice? Then, as the snake adds more and more mice in the jar where there were already some, we can work on the overcounting: “there were already three mice in the pot, and it adds 4. We already have 3. . 4, 5, 6, 7 … seven mice! We casually tackle the first additions. After reading the album. Why not also have the children find out how many mice are missing.
Ten Boyfriends Move Out, by Mitsumasa Anno
Know the sequence of numbers from 1 to 10 in ascending and descending order, solve minor additive / subtractive problems, decompose a number, understand the notion of cardinal/ordinal number.
The album can be working on in problem situations with GS or at the start of cycle 2. Apart from the “explanatory note” at the beginning, it is an album without text. On a double-page, we present two houses: one of which we can see the interior and the other of which we only see the facade. The characters from the house on the left gradually move to the house on the right (one by one).
The goal for the children is to guess how many children can hide in the house. With a facade by comparing with the uncovered house. For example, in the beginning, we see ten children in the house on the left. We can guess that there are none on the right. The children can check by turning the page. The inside of the house on the left is then hidden. We discover the inside of the house on the right to validate (or not) the hypotheses.
It offers small traps: some children appear at the windows. But they do not necessarily represent the total number of children inside the house! It is, therefore, necessary to show logic and rigor not to be fooled.
Lovely and allows exploitation in many fields:
- – in language, to describe all the small scenes of life and enrich the house’s vocabulary, gestures.
- – in reading, to identify the direction of reading left-right.
- – in space, to work on the vocabulary of positions: describe. Where the characters are, situate them about others or in a room. So, we have the characters placed in a house that has been reproduced.
- – In visual arts or discovering the world, develop. Your curiosity by observing different houses typical of France and the world, such as half-timbered houses.