Teaching Process Skills With Children’s Literature: How Math Works


How Math Works, by Carol Vorderman, is an interesting guide to deciphering the mysteries of mathematics.  Geared towards students in grades 3-6, this book includes many hands-on experiments with clear, step-by-step instructions and colorful photographs.  A list of materials needed to create your own home laboratory is included as well.  Students will find experiments such as how to make a thermometer out of a plastic bottle and additional experiments with mass, weight, and volume.  Third graders studying simple machines can learn more about the connections between math and science on page 28 and make their own pulley on page 29.  This book is a wonderful resource for upper elementary students and would come in handy when creating science fair projects.

Curriculum Connections
This book includes a variety of experiments to provide a more concrete, tactile experience with abstract concepts such as measuring volume, mass, weight, temperature.  Along the way, students will be actually “doing” science by making predictions and observations, questioning, forming hypotheses, making inferences and conclusions, and sequencing natural events chronologicially.  When making a pulley, students are learning more about one type of simple machine, how it functions, what it is used for, and that forces cause changes in motion.  By using this book and performing its experiments on measurement, students will make estimations on length, mass and volume, measure accurately using basic tools, and develop an understanding of the nature of science and its connection to mathematics.  All these things relate to the Scientific Investigation, Reasoning and Logic standards in grades 3 through 6.

Additional Resources

  •  Information on simple machines resides here
  • To access an interesting lesson plan on volume, click here
  • Check out this website to create measurement worksheets. 
  • Here’s another book on math/science connections. 

Book: How Math Works
Carol Vorderman
Gurinder Purewall
Reader’s Digest
Publication Date:
Reprint edition – July 19, 1999
Grade Range: 3-6
ISBN: 978-0762102334

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