Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Math Activities with BOOKSHELVES

Bookshelves--they're everywhere--in homes, libraries, bookstores, classrooms, and sometimes even bus-stops!  What do they have to do with math?  Here's some ways you can play with math and bookshelves...

  • Pick a particular bookshelf to work with...
    • Measure it (Height, width, depth)
      • What is the cubic measurement of the inside? (volume)
      • What is the perimeter (outside) measurement?
    • How many shelves does it have? (counting)
      • Pick a shelf to count and multiply it by the amount of shelves--Will that give you the approximate total?
    • Observing the books on your bookshelf...
      • If you had to share your bookshelf evenly between a certain amount of people (maybe your family members) how many would everyone have? (Addition, division)
      • How many different colors of book covers are contained on your bookshelf?  Make a chart to sort them. 
      • How many genres of books are in your bookshelf? (Sorting)
        • Find the average number of pages for one particular genre.
  • Map out bookshelves at a bookstore or library and label them by section. (Mapping)--This could be a whole class activity.
    • How many bookshelves were in the each section (fiction, cooking, etc)?  You could have different children work on the different sections to help map out the whole bookstore or library.
    • Take one bookshelf and calculate how much that shelf of books would cost to buy every book.  (Multiplication)  You can estimate $10 a book if that is easiest.
      • If every kid in your class had some dollar amount--maybe $50, could you all buy one bookshelf?  
        • How many books could everyone buy? (Division)
        • What percentage of the bookshelf is that?
  • Other ideas...
    • Find out how many bookshelves could fit in one room of your house--two versions--1.) fit on the square footage (floor) of the room and 2.) fit in the cubic area of the room. (Addition, multiplication, division, volume, measurements)
    • Google search images of bookshelves and come up with your own math questions.  Are all of them rectangular? (shapes/geometry)
  • More advanced math...
    • Find the weight of your bookshelf and calculate the amount of force needed to push it over (for the physics fans!)
    • Find bookshelf statistics--Average amount of books that fit on various shelving units.
      • Find the demand rate on a particular shelf at a bookstore.  If there was no more supply coming in, how long would it take for the shelf to be empty?
Can you think of other ways to play with math and BOOKSHELVES?

Thank you all for helping me through this A to Z Challenge and especially Arlee for his support and making the Challenge.


  1. Look at you getting all creative! I've loving this theme! And check out all of those followers!
    Dani @ Entertaining Interests

    1. Thanks! Arlee mentioning my blog specifically really helped boost my blogging start : )

  2. As a homeschooling mom I really appreciate these ideas.

    1. Thanks! Homeschooling parents and El Ed teachers are my main target audience. If you could share my blog with friends that might find it helpful that would be awesome!

  3. More great activities! I am loving these!

    Tales of a Pee Dee Mama

  4. Lucy, wow you're so creative! I can't think of other ways but great ideas for vakt learning!

    Chontali Kirk

  5. We have gotten involved in math using BOOKS but never the bookshelves themselves. What an "a-ha" moment! :)

  6. Another cool post. I've got a lot of bookshelves in my house so I could really stay busy doing bookshelf math. Now if only the books were all worth as much as I paid for them.

    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  7. That's kinda cool. I wish I'd had more math teachers that did stuff like this in school.

    KC @ The Occasional Adventures of a Hermit & Oh Frog It

  8. As a retired physics prof, I'd like to see anything that helps kids truly grasp the concepts of area and volume. A lot think it's just formulas but have no idea of what the concepts mean. (I'm #781 I think.)

    1. What's the name of your blog? I saw #781 as Tales of the Reborn Crafter...Did I get the right one?

  9. I love the write up. I really love that picture! I think that is an excellent way to encourage reading!

    1. Thanks! I thought it was really neat when I heard about places doing bookshelves at bus stops.

  10. How about:
    How many bookshelves do you need to hold all of the books in your house.
    The answer is always fewer than you actually have.

    1. Ha ha ... you are so right Andrew, but I do like some empty space on bookshelves - like now I can get more books.

  11. Lucy, my son is going to kill me with this bookshelves ideas. I can hear him, "Since when do we have to weigh our book? Are we running out of ingredients to cook? Ooh man, not another math practice." I think I'm going to get him to build some shelves, to get his 'angles' correct.

    1. I know, not all kids are into doing math practices. One of the reasons I made the blog was to have people recognize that everyday they have math situations and realize the concepts behind all the formulas and memorization

      If your son isn't into bookshelf math, you could maybe find some other way to do math with him based on whatever level he can handle and with things he likes. : )

      Thanks for stopping and commenting


Thanks SO much for stopping by! I appreciate your comments and any ideas you share! Have a wonderful day : )

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