Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tiger Math: Learning to Graph from a Baby Tiger

Collaboration Cuties Must Read Mentor Text Linky time--this week's topic: MATH...

Just the other day, my grandson and I stopped to pick up a few things in my classroom.  His eyes were caught by a book on the top of a basket because we had just played our "Guess that Animal" game in the car on the way there.  The cover had a baby tiger on it--our most recent animal...  I looked at the basket and saw that it was in the Teaching Stories: Math basket, and that made me think about how few times the kids even got into that basket last year, and then I got ti thinking about how I want to add some math texts to guided math time this year. 

I remembered briefly using the book that my grandson spotted, Tiger Math: Learning to Graph from a Baby Tiger by Ann Whitehead Nagda & Cindy Bickel, when I taught fifth grade.  I have not used the text with second graders, but it will be a great text to use with enriched second grade math students for an independent exploration. The text steps beyond second grade math standards a bit by showing double bar, line graphs, and a simple pie/circle graph--yet this will provide a perfect extension for some students. The text shows real-life uses of different types of graphs, and it gives a wonderful nonfiction account of a baby tiger as it grows and changes.   

About the Book form A Siberian tiger cub born at the Denver Zoo is orphaned when he is just a few weeks old. At first T. J. refuses to eat his new food, and it requires the full attention of the zoo staff to ensure that he grows into a huge, beautiful, and very healthy tiger.  Through photographs, narrative, and graphs, young readers follow T.J. as he grows from a tiny newborn into a five-hundred-pound adult. A heartwarming story about one tiger’s fight for survival that also introduces a basic math skill.

Here are just two of the graph pages from the book.  You can also see a nice preview at!

I plan to create a general response sheet that can be used with any of the graphs in the book.  Here are some of the questions I will ask...
  • What type of graph is shown?
  • What is the title of the graph?
  • What is the subject of this graph? What information about the baby tiger (or tigers) is it showing you?
  • Write two things you learned from reading the graph. 
  • What "I wonder..." questions do you have?

Ann Whitehead Nagda has a website where you can learn about her 4 other non-fiction math teaching texts that she has written.  I will be ordering Panda Math: Learning About Subtraction from Hua Mei and Mei Sheng.

Fly on over to Collaboration Cuties to read about more math mentor texts...  See you tomorrow for Monday Made It!


  1. This is a way cool book!! :) I wish we taught graphing in 4th, I would totally jump on this one!
    ideas by jivey
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  2. I have this book but haven't used it yet. I need to pull it out and check on it. I'm so glad you linked it up!

    Collaboration Cuties

  3. What a great book recommendation! I would've loved using this last year if I'd known about it. I'm your newest follower - come stop by if you get a chance :)

    The Sweetest Thing
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  4. Anne Nagda came to my school years ago for a writing residency. She was great with the kids. At the time, we had a cat that lived at school (Sooty). Anne loved this idea and ended up writing "The Valentine Cat" inspired by our school and our kitty! We even did a 'paw signing' when the book was released!

    Her math books are great, but I recommend also reading her fiction chapter books. The kids love them as well.

    Anne is good people!