Multiply on the Fly
written by Suzanne Slade; illustrated by Erin E. Hunter
2011 (Sylvan Dell Publishing)
Source: Orange County Public Library
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Check out Poetry Friday at Read Write Believe
Nine brilliant butterflies
twinkle in the dark-
glowing lights flash on and off
How many in the park?
There have been several good titles this year that combine science and poetry. Multiply on the Fly takes it a step further and adds math to the mix. Each two page spread features a multiplication equation with animals as the centerpiece. A four line poem, with the second and fourth lines in rhyme, accompanies each beautiful illustration. Some of the animals featured include walking sticks, luna moths, and ladybugs. Students who are beginning to work on fluency in multiplication will enjoy this unique way to visualize these equations. As with other Sylvan Dell books, you get an abundance of back matter that you can copy for educational use. Sections on life cycles and insect body parts are especially helpful resource and you can click on the link above to find more activities.
This would be a great read aloud for second and third grade students who are starting to learn about multiplication. You could read one poem each day to start math and discuss how the groupings fit the equation. Then you could brainstorm other ways you could illustrate the equation. For example, for the above poem it could be a school of fish or a flock of geese. Multiply on the Fly is a fine mix of rhyme and arithmetic.