Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Math Picture Books to Love: The Fly on the Ceiling

The Fly on the Ceiling by Dr. Julie Glass

  • Target Skill(s): Coordinate Graphing in Quadrant I
  • Book Synopsis: Rene' Descartes, a French philosopher and mathematician, struggles to keep his home neat and organized. Consequently, he has trouble locating the things that he needs. While sick in bed, he watches a fly moving to different spots on the ceiling and wonders whether the fly ever lands in the same place twice. He begins to imagine a organized grid system that could help him record the places where the fly lands. After successfully recording the landing spots of the fly, Rene decides that his grid could easily be used to help him keep track of the things in his home. Rene' decides to create a grid on the floor and places objects at different coordinates. He then makes a record of his placements so that he can use his "index" to find what he needs. 
  • Math Involved: This book emphasizes how to plot/ locate points in Quadrant I on the Cartesian coordinate plane. 
  • Questions to Ponder: 
    • What organized system did Rene Descartes create?
    • How can you use his system to locate/ plot points?
    • What is the term for the starting point on the coordinate plane? 
  • Activity Ideas: 
    • Create a human graph in a large open area. Give each student a coordinate and have him/her walk to the location of the coordinate. 
    • Using the human coordinate plane idea above, give each student a starting point and set of directions, such as "Go 5 spaces to the right, or east. Challenge students to land in the correct place. 
    • Create a large coordinate plane for your classroom. Print pictures of toys, school supplies, or other set of objects and post them in various places on the coordinate plane. Have students locate each object and record the location correctly to create an "index."
  • Book Link on Amazon: