Ratios in a Storybook (3 Day Lesson)

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SWBAT make sense of mathematical scenario presented in a storybook context using the concepts taught during this unit.

Big Idea

A Ratio Twist in a Storybook Myth: Recognizing ratio relationships in context.


10 minutes

To open this lesson pertaining to understanidng ratios and the patterns that they create as they are presented in context, I will read a story to my students. The name of this story is, Anno's Magic  Seeds, by Mitsumasa Anno (1995). While this story does not depcit a direct proportion, it does represent a linear relationship that will allow the students to understand direct proporitons in context. As I read this story, I will stop periodically to ask the students questions that will activate their thinking and motivate them to think ahead as they start to realize the pattern being represented in the story (MP2, MP3, & MP7). Some of the questions that I will ask are as follows:

  • What is happening?
  • What do you notice?
  • How is this significant to the standard?
  • What pattern do you see developing?


Please see the attached file to see a picture of the cover of this book as well as a couple of pages to illustrate the relevance of its contents. Also, please note, the following text; Math and Literature, by Jennifer M. Bay-Williams and Sherri L. Martinie. This book provides a list of books and how those books can be used to enhance the understanding of mathematics in context.

Instruction & Teacher Modeling

15 minutes

After reading the story, Anno's Magic Seeds, by Mitsumasa Anno (1995). I will facilitate a discussion concerning mathematics in context. During this discussion, I want to be sure to cover the following topis.

  • The difficulties students face when encountering word problems.
  • How mathematics relates to the world around us.
  • How does mathematics play a role in your life?


Using these topics, I will steer students toward what they will be doing over the next three days, which is to write their own storybook. the story that they have to write must be original and be a story that incorporates the concepts of ratios and proportional relationships within its contents.

To start students on their way, I will model how I would write a story involving mathematics. However, I will ensure that my story does not involve proportional relationships, as I do not want to receive a bunch of different renditions of my own story. Please see the attached PowerPoint to see my story model.

After modeling, I will then explain that my story, while it involved mathematics, does not meet the requirements for their assignment. I will let them know that their story must be original and must include ratios & proportional relationships. I will then remind them of the characteristics of ratios and proportional relationships. I will be sure to highlight the following characteristics specifically:


  • Shows you a relationship between two quantities
  • Decribes a pattern
  • Can be part-to-part or part-to-whole


  • Uses ratios to predict or calculate the outcome of a proportional situation.

Try It Out

15 minutes

During the "Try It Out" section of this lesson, I will have my students to prepare for the creation of their story by completing a brainstorming graphic organizer as well as a graphic organizer for the purpose of developing their story.

  • To successfully complete the brainstorming activity, the students will need to complete the following:
    • They will need to think of three story ideas. I will have my students develop their ideas by completing the organizer. To complete the organizer the students will:
      • Write their story idea in the appropriate box
      • Provide a brief synopsis of the story details
      • Determine the problem that will come up during the story
      • Determine how the problem will be solved


  • To successfully complete the graphic organizer for developing their story, the students will need to do the following:
    • They will bring their brainstorming organizer to me so we can have a discussion to determine which one of their story ideas they will development.
    • When they have chosen a story, they will then use the graphic organizer, which is a story web to develop their story before they actually write their story.

Independent Exploration

25 minutes

Day 1

At this time, the students should have their stories under way. I will allow my studnets this time to develop their ideas in to something more concrete. Fro those who are struggling to really get started, I will work with them in a separate group to help them get their projects underway.

It is my hope that by the end of this class period, the students will have a good start on a story and that they are certain of the direction in which they want to take their stories. Hopefully the students will be finished, or at least close to finished with their story by the end of the period. They should only need minor editing after today.

For homework, the students need to fill in their stories and be prepared for the final edit the following day.

Day 2

On day two of this lesson, my students will complete their final edit of their stories. I will travel the room and spend time with each students to ensure their stories meet the criteria before they start to create their final product.

The students will be provided with materials to "publish" their book (construction paper, card stock, craft tools and materials). I will encourage my students to be creative in their design of their books. In fact, I will show them different books with different styles of artwork for illustrations as well as books that are a variety of shapes. Studnets should turn in their book at the end of this class period. They iwll be allowed to take it home to finish if necessary. However, they will not be told this until the end of the class period to ensure that they work diligently and efficiently throughout the entire class period.

For homework students are to write an essay about how their book showcases the concepts of ratios and proportional relationships. They should included the content standards and key vocabulary highlighted by their book. MP2, MP3, MP4, & MP6

Day 3

During day three of this lesson, we will close out this lesson. For this reason, please see the section of this lesson labeled, "Closing Summary."


Closing Summary

5 minutes

The closing summary will occur on the third and last day of this assignment and will take the entire class period.

First, we will discuss the storybook project, its challenges, what they liked about the project, what they disliked, if they are proud of their product, how the project helped them to understand ratios & proportional relationships in context. We will spend approximately 10 minutes on this portion of the closing summary. Then, I will allow students whose books I have already previewed to share their stories with the class. They will do an author's read aloud and then the students in the audience will determine what the ratio was in the story and, what proportional relationship was represented in the story. MP1, MP2, MP3, MP4, & MP6