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Contact Info Melissa Poremba is delighted to speak on the topic of numeracy skills support and development at school and public libraries. She can be contacted via In addition, many of her lists live on the Oakville Public Library site (www.opl.on.ca ) and you may also send her a message via that platform. (Look for ‘math’ lists from ‘melissapowl’ and then click on ‘Send melissapowl a Message’.)

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**Numeracy Skills Development @ Your Library**

Melissa Poremba OLA Super Conference February 26, 2010

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What is Numeracy? The International Adult Literacy Survey defines numeracy as: “The knowledge and skills required to apply arithmetic operations, either alone or sequentially, using numbers embedded in printed material, such as balancing a cheque book, figuring out a tip, completing an order form or determining the amount of interest on a loan.” Numeracy, in other words, is largely about our ability to deal with the basic calculations in our daily lives. **Note about terminology!

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“Over 40% of the population has difficulty with everyday tasks such as reading prescription instructions or measuring volumes for household chores. This means that approximately four out of 10 Canadians are at a basic or low numeracy level.” ~ABC Canada: Workplace Literacy – In Brief

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**Why should we be concerned?**

Libraries traditionally associated with literacy skills support and development Reading Writing

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**Canadian Council on Learning: Reading the Future**

~Report Resources – Fact Sheet

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**Canadian Council on Learning: Reading the Future**

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**To be considered “literate” today…**

Must have TRADITIONAL LITERACY AND NUMERACY SKILLS

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**Conference Board of Canada: Employability Skills 2000+**

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**As a library professional, do you use numeracy skills?**

Everyday! Budgets, circulation stats, staffing, acquisitions, programming, … “E-Library Economics” (Feb 10, 2010) Library Value Calculator

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**Numeracy skills development**

It’s not just for “mathies”! Everyone needs these skills But don’t forget the “mathies”! We don’t have to teach the math! We don’t teach reading and writing in the library, we facilitate them; we don’t have to teach the math either Libraries provide the resources and a rich supportive environment for numeracy skills development just as for traditional literacy skills

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**As a library professional, do you promote numeracy skills development?**

Absolutely! Dewey Decimal System Every time you train a page… Every time you help a patron locate a book in the stacks… Story time “Count Us In” (Jan 1, 2009) Database/Internet searching “Search Engine Math” Boolean operators (Venn Diagrams)

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**How else can we support numeracy skills development in our libraries?**

What I want to share today What I won’t be doing

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What symbol is this? ! Exclamation mark What else?

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What symbol is this? ! In mathematics, the factorial of a non-negative integer n, denoted by n!, is the product of all positive integers less than or equal to n. (~http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factorial) In other words n! = n (n-1) (n-2) (n-3) … (3) (2) (1) 6! = 6 x 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 = 720

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My point? It is the same symbol, just viewed from different perspective You don’t have to know the definition, just be aware that others may see the same thing differently You already have the resources, programs, and promotional tools —just need to view them through a new lens

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My goals: Increase awareness of the potential of the library to support numeracy education You have the skills, resources, programs and promotional tools necessary to be an advocate for numeracy in your library You might simply need to see them from a different perspective For “mathies” For everyone Take the ideas presented here and adapt them to your particular situation Inspire you to come up with more ways to integrate numeracy into your library’s collections and programs Establish your library as a destination for numeracy support and resources

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**We would never dream of saying that about reading!**

Please… Whether in your capacity as a library professional, parent, teacher, or anyone with influence on children, please stop saying that you… Don’t like math Can’t do math See no need for math Don’t understand the new math Etc., etc., etc. Don’t pass along your “math anxiety”! We would never dream of saying that about reading!

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**What can libraries do to further promote numeracy skills development?**

Depends on: Type of library Demographics of patron population Collections Resources Promotional tools

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**A mishmash of ideas and resources**

School library Public library Adults Students Pre-schoolers Parents Teachers/Homeschoolers There is always something that can be done!

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**Let’s start with the obvious**

Where do you expect to find the “math” resources in your library?

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In the 510s: 510 Mathematics 511 General principles of mathematics 512 Algebra 513 Arithmetic 514 Topology 515 Analysis 516 Geometry 517 [Unassigned] 518 Numerical analysis 519 Probabilities & applied mathematics And also in: 372 Elementary education 373 Secondary education 793 Indoor games & amusements 795 Games of chance

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**What is the first resource that comes to mind when thinking about numeracy skills development?**

Mathematics instruction, even at the post-secondary level is text book driven. Students and parents come in looking for text-like materials (lessons, drill, practice, problems)

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**Variety is crucial There are many different formats**

to support different learning styles Print Multi-media: CDs, DVDs, CD-ROMs Subscription databases eLibrary, CPI.Q, Gale Virtual Reference Library Learning Express eBooks Internet

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**Internet sites Portals: No point re-inventing the wheel**

Canadian Mathematical Society: Mathematics for Students and Teachers Ontario Association for Mathematics Education: Math Links Discovery Education KidsClick! BJ Pinchbeck’s Homework Helper Math Central Kathy Schrock

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**For visual learners Free online resources:**

(N.B. This collection of online videos can be accessed through the Discovering Collection database by clicking on the Streaming Video icon.) Obviously need to warn patrons about exercising caution when using web resources

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**Issues “Math Wars” – be aware! Discovery Rote/”Drill & Kill”**

Strive for balance (examples) Local preferences/needs Beware of traditional focus on European males Watch for “contrived” stories; that is, just because they say “math”… Consider level of mathematical rigour required Watch for inconsistencies in series Include Canadian content whenever possible

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**Canada, eh! Some very inspiring stories: John Charles Fields**

Donald Coxeter John Mighton Eric Demaine Ravi Vakil A. K. Dewdney Kim Rossmo Don’t forget the databases!

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**You never know who you will inspire!**

“When I was quite young, I believe no older than 11, I came across two books that would determine how I thought about mathematics for the next 20 years, until, at the age of 31, I found the confidence to return to school and start a degree in the subject. One book was a collection of science fiction from the local library. It contained a story about two children who construct a Mobius strip that enables them, by a process I unfortunately can’t recall, to travel in time….Though I haven’t reread the short story since I was a child, I would be surprised if it was well written, and even more surprised if the mathematics behind it was sound. But the story awoke a greater sense of wonder than I have felt reading anything since: from it I gained the conviction that mathematics was a magical subject that would allow me, once I had mastered it, to transcend the everyday.” (9) ~ Mighton, John. The Myth of Ability: Nurturing Mathematical Talent in Every Child. Toronto: Anansi, 2003. John Mighton, a Canadian, is a mathematician, author (The Myth of Ability, The End of Ignorance), playwright (Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama), actor (Good Will Hunting), and educator (JUMP) ~

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**Weeding A frequently neglected area Sunlink Weed of the Month**

“Math publishing has changed significantly in the scant years since the first edition was released [2002]. Back then, I’d draw the graphs and illustrations on paper and hope that a graphic artist could understand what I was trying to communicate. Now, however, I can electronically create the illustrations myself, ensuring that they are accurate and reliable.” ~Kelley, Michael, W. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Calculus. 2nd ed. New York: Alpha Books, 2006.

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**Where else might you find resources to support numeracy skills development?**

We all use math everyday, no matter what we do That is the key message: that the “math” materials are throughout the collection!

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You’ll find math here…

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And here…

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**And here… Geometrics: A New Way to Crochet By Ruthie Marks**

Product Description Mathematical craftwork has become extremely popular, and mathematicians and crafters alike are fascinated by the relationship between their crafts. The focus of this book, written for mathematicians, needleworkers, and teachers of mathematics, is on the relationship between mathematics and the fiber arts (including knitting, crocheting, tatting, and quilting). Each chapter starts with an overview of the mathematics and the needlework at a level understandable to both mathematicians and needleworkers, followed by more technical sections discussing the mathematics, how to introduce the mathematics in the classroom through needlework, and how to make the needlework project, including patterns and instructions. Making Mathematics with Needlework: Ten Papers and Ten Projects By Sarah-Marie Belcastro, Carolyn Yackel

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**And still here… Crocheting Adventures With Hyperbolic Planes**

By Daina Taimina With more than 200 full color photographs, this non-traditional, tactile introduction to non-Euclidean geometries also covers early development of geometry and connections between geometry, art, nature, and sciences. For the crafter or would-be crafter, there are detailed instructions for how to crochet various geometric models and how to use them in explorations. Short-listed for the Diagram Prize (oddest book title of the year).

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Mobius strip A Mobius strip, an object with only one surface and one edge; such shapes are an object of study in topology. ~http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topology

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**And even here! Group Theory in the Bedroom and**

Other Mathematical Diversions By Brian Hayes

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**Not sure where to start? Textbooks: chapter introductions, sidebars**

Authors of popular math books: Theoni Pappas, Ian Stewart, Martin Gardner, Calvin C. Clawson, Clifford A. Pickover, Keith Devlin, A.K. Dewedney Ziauddin Sardar Johnny Ball

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**Word Problems (Story Problems)**

Where else? What was one of the most challenging type of math problem in school? Word Problems (Story Problems)

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**Math in context Mathematics in FICTION Plot Characters Central**

Incidental Characters Everyday people Math teachers Mathematicians

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**Literacy + Numeracy = Success**

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Example

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**http://opl. bibliocommons**

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For teens

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Historical Fiction

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**Romance Story of Polly Nomial and Curly Pi**

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**Safety in Numbers Ooops…**

Ooops… “I belong to the 8% of the world population who calm their apprehension by drowning it in numbers.” (p. 301) Sometimes you think they will have something to do with math and they don’t!

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**Don’t forget the databases**

Novelist Plus What Do I Read Next? mathematic* Adults Teens Older Kids Younger Kids Total Fiction 275 31 66 78 450 Nonfiction 353 272 253 944 Combined 628 97 338 331 1394

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**“Mathematical Fiction”**

The best web site! “Mathematical Fiction” maintained by Alex Kasman College of Charleston

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**How are we going to promote these resources?**

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**Displays Picture books: counting, shapes, time, size, patterns, …**

Use in story times (for older students, too!)

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**“Books You Can Count On”**

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“Noughty but Nice!”

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**Displays Staff Picks shelf Fiction and/or Nonfiction Consider timing**

Exams

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**What promotional tools do you have?**

BiblioCommons (patron input) Bookmarks/lists Print Electronic Pathfinders Blog Site of the Week Database or Wiki Pamphlets Presentation/Outreach Parent’s Night Family Literacy events Summer Reading promos Add a Trip to the Library and Your Skills Will Multiply

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**Reading Programs DEAR, DIRT, SSR Get the math teachers on board**

Read-alouds for older students Don’t forget the Mathematical Fiction site!

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Booktalks

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**100th Day of School Books Sites**

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**“Take Your Chances @ the Library!”**

Games day – learn about probability, statistics, game theory, logic puzzles

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**World Math Day http://www.worldmathday.com/**

World Math Day Video Challenge (Teacher Tube) Be the driving, coordinating force just as for Family Literacy Day In Australia, the government sponsors a combined National Literacy and Numeracy Week Real World Math Contest (Teacher Tube + Texas Instruments)

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**Pi Day (March 14 = 3.14) Books Sites Also Einstein’s birthday!**

Also Einstein’s birthday!

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**“Math is Beautiful” Tesselations (Escher) Origami Quilting Fractals**

Read about Eric Demaine (Canadian now at MIT) Quilting Fractals Doodling Golden Ratio/Divine Proportion (nature, art, architecture)

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**Sidebar for library professionals**

Merchandising shape, patterns, symmetry The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel Chapter on “The Library as Shape” (p 129 – 161) Discussion of the geometric patterns of the Laurentian Library’s tile floor designed by Michelangelo:

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**“Double the Fun” Dress up as twins**

Books about the number 2 and/or multiplying by 2 Books with “two” in the title

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**Make Connections Hot topics The Olympics are all about the numbers!**

Lewis Carroll = Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (mathematician) First Wikipedia logo included quote from Dodgson’s “Euclid and His Modern Rivals”. ~http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_logos

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Googol/Google Google’s search algorithm—PageRank considers more than 500 million variables and 2 billion terms. ~http://www.google.com/corporate/tech.html

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**Combining Literacy and Numeracy**

Teachers/parents short on time Combine lessons “Story Problems” Research supports theory What If Your ABCs Were Your 123s?: Building Connections Between Literacy and Numeracy By Leslie Minton

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More resources Connecting Math with Literature: Using Children's Literature as a Springboard for Teaching Math Concepts Grades 3-6 By Lisa Crooks Literature-Based Math Activities: An Integrated Approach By Alison Abrohms Math Links: Teaching the NCTM 2000 Standards Through Children's Literature By Evans, Leija, Falkner Some of these are dated but you may still have the referenced books in your collection Math Through Children's Literature By Braddon, Hall, Taylor

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A few more to consider Check out books by David J. Whitin, Phyllis Whitin and Sandra Wilde How to Use Children’s Literature to Teach Mathematics By Rosamond Welchman-Tischler Literature-based activities for integrating mathematics with other content areas By Robin A. Ward

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**Marilyn Burns Math and Literature series**

Math and Nonficton series Chart of children’s literature featured in Math Solutions Publications series EVERY SCHOOL BOARD SHOULD CONSIDER OWNING THIS SET!

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Series Greg Tang MathStart Stuart J. Murphy

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**Find lists online Booklist Online: Math in Fiction**

Library Booklists: Math in Children’s Fiction: The Math Drexel: Literature and Mathematics Math Books for Children Mathematics Council of Alberta’s Teachers’ Association: Mathematics and Literature Investigations in Number, Data and Space Children’s Picture Books that Teach Mathematics Concepts Math and Children’s Literature Middle and High School: Literature in Mathematics

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**Taking it to another level**

Issues Discussion Compare/contrast Character development Cross-curricular connections Provide a positive, integrated experience with mathematics

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**There’s Nothing in the Library!**

Books about ‘zero’ and/or ‘nothing’

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**Book Lust by Nancy Pearl includes a chapter entitled:**

“Zero: This Will Mean Nothing to You” The Hole in the Universe by K. C. Cole The Book of Nothing: Vacuums, Voids, and the Latest Ideas About the Origins of the Universe by John D. Barrow Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Number by Charles Seife The Nothing That Is: A Natural History of Zero by Robert Kaplan

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**#1 (One) By Vladimir Radunsk**

“The Power of One” Link to topic of “bullying” Link to discussion of “uniqueness” One By Kathryn Otoshi #1 (One) By Vladimir Radunsk

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Self Acceptance Dissatisfied with its shape, a triangle keeps asking the local shapeshifter to add more lines and angles until it doesn't know which side is up.

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**Social Studies Booklist**

Gr. 3-5, younger for reading aloud. To make the idea of a world of 6.2 billion people more understandable, Smith suggests that children imagine the population of the world as a village of just 100 people. That's one person representing 62 million people in the real world. Surprising, even shocking statistics follow--for example, many kids in the U. S. take computers for granted, but only seven people in the global village own one. Each double-page, picture-book spread relates a few consciousness-raising facts about such topics as nationalities, food, language, and religion. With the aid of a calculator, even younger kids can do the math; the tricky part is to get children to really understand the ideas. Armstrong's large acrylic paintings, nice complements to the text, look like stained glass windows, with blocks of intense color outlined in thick black lines. This highly informative book will get kids thinking and asking questions, and it can easily be incorporated into a middle-school social studies curriculum. The endnote suggests related activities for home and classroom. Lauren Peterson Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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**Fiction vs Nonfiction Math Prodigy Savant**

How are mathematicians portrayed? Math teachers?

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**Putting mathematical skills to work**

Is it legal? Is it ethical?

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**Discussion topics for older students/adults**

Euro-centric approach to mathematics education, especially history of mathematics Concept of infinity as presented in The Tortoise and the Hare The power of numbers in our contemporary, data-driven society

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**Dodecahedron or A Frame for Frames by Paul Glennon**

Regular dodecahedron: a polyhedron (solid with plane faces) with 12 faces, each of which is a regular pentagon Finalist, 2006 Governor General’s Award for Fiction Can you construct the dodecahedron that links the characters in the stories?

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**Information Literacy Opportunities for incorporating**

numeracy + literacy + information literacy

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**What if there is an error in the math?**

Take advantage of a ‘teachable moment’ Information literacy lesson What is the error? What correction is necessary? Why is it easy to overlook the error? Who should we inform? What are their credentials? How can we contact them? Can we write our own story?

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**Literal translation Reference to ‘Pi’ in the Bible**

Try ‘Google’ this topic for an excellent discussion on the objectivity, reliability, authority of web sites ‘Pi’ in the Old Testament: “And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it about.” (I Kings 7, 23)

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Physical Books How many numbers can you find on/in a book? (ISBN, price, pages, chapters, reading level, date, Dewey number, edition, etc.) What did we gain by switching to ISBN-13? How many more items can we uniquely identify? Reference collection is excellent place to study concept of ‘relative size’ as ‘biggest books’ usually located there. What does ‘biggest book’ mean? Use duplicate copies and Big Books (read aloud size) to demonstrate ‘similar’ and ‘congruent’

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**Dewey Decimal System Base 10 number system: 10 then 10 then 10 …**

Arrange books in numerical order: place value, greater than, less than Every time you train a page or explain to a student how to locate a book using call numbers, you are teaching math! Evaluate expressions involving decimals and search for items with corresponding Dewey numbers Take several books and perform operations with their Dewey numbers Organize scavenger hunt matching math question answers to call numbers “Dewey Decimal Sudoku” in School Library Media Activities Monthly

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Patterning Collection can be categorized based on many ‘attributes’ (hardcover/soft-cover, fiction/nonfiction, reference/circulating, etc.) Arrange selection of books into various patterns based on attributes Overlap with Venn diagrams

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Physical Collection Ratio problems: proportion of collection in various genres, formats, etc.; compare with number of shelves in various genres Rate problems: if purchase books at rate x and weed at rate y . . . Estimation: number of items in collection – what information would you need? Problem solving: what information would you need to calculate the approximate value of the books in the collection? Have students graph findings of proportions

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**Sample application Activity: Book Drive**

Sort books: fiction, non-fiction, picture books Tally books in each category Use Excel to make chart and graph Submit to newsletter

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**OPAC Learn to use OPAC features by answering questions such as**

How many books do we have by Robert Munsch? How many items that come up under a keyword search for ‘bears’ are fiction? What is the oldest book we have on the subject of mathematics? How could I find out the average age of a portion of the collection? Explain that all electronic resources are founded upon the binary number system What other subject headings might be used when searching for ‘math’ books?

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**Databases Mathematics articles in the databases**

30 journals in Academic OneFile on subject of mathematics including “Teaching Children Mathematics”, “Mathematics Education Research Journal” and “Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education” Don’t forget CBCA and Canadian Reference Centre Popular Pedagogical Technical A fantastic way to attract the attention of teachers! Alerts, RSS feeds Send to staff meetings/put in mailboxes

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**Research strategy parallels**

From OSLA’s Information Studies Zimmer, David, et al. Mathematics of Data Management. Scarborough, ON: Nelson, (page viii)

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Remember Some of these activities may leave the shelves in a shambles, but they are well worth it if patrons/students gain exposure to the collection and find something that they would like to borrow

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My goals: Increase awareness of the potential of the library to support numeracy education You have the skills, resources, programs and promotional tools necessary to be an advocate for numeracy in your library You might simply need to see them from a different perspective For “mathies” For everyone Take the ideas presented here and adapt them to your particular situation Inspire you to come up with more ways to integrate numeracy into your library’s collections and programs Establish your library as a destination for numeracy support and resources

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Eratosthenes—My hero! Describes the life and work of Eratosthenes, the Greek geographer and astronomer who accurately measured the circumference of the Earth. While he is also known for the Sieve of Eratosthenes, an algorithm for identifying the prime numbers, his main occupation was as the librarian at Alexandria. You might not be the librarian who measured the earth, but perhaps you will be the library professional who inspired a patron to make a mathematical discovery!

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**Divide and conquer! Go forth and multiply!**

Thanks for coming! Divide and conquer! Go forth and multiply!

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Contact Info Melissa Poremba is delighted to speak on the topic of numeracy skills support and development at school and public libraries. She can be contacted via In addition, many of her lists live on the Oakville Public Library site (www.opl.on.ca ) and you may send her a message via that platform. (Search for ‘math’ lists from ‘melissapowl’ and then click on ‘Send melissapowl a Message’.)

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