Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Transformation Tuesday: Math Picture Books to Love- A Place for Zero

A Place for Zero by Angeline Sparagna LoPresti

Target Skill(s): Properties of Addition and Multiplication; Place Value

Book Synopsis: In a land of "positive" numbers (digits really), called Digitaria, Zero felt all alone because he could not play "Addemup" with the other numbers. He simply had nothing to add. Zero felt alone because King Multiplus declared that no more zeros would be made until they found a purpose for Zero. This made Zero sad and he longed to find his place in the world. One day, after a visit to Count Infinity, the King's trusty advisor, Count discovered that if he placed Zero and One in the "Numberator," a machine that added ones together to make the other numbers, he was able to make a baby one, something he had not yet been able to do. The additive identity property was born! Zero was excited about this new discovery and wondered what would happen if he was multiplied by another number, so he ran off to see the King. Sure enough, when Zero and a one were placed in the "Multi-tube," a baby zero popped out. The King tried again with another number and another zero was born. After finding two great purposes, Zero still didn't feel that he had found his "place" and goes on to discover that when he stood to the right of another number, a whole new group of numbers resulted, tens. This new discovery lead to many new numbers being created. Finally, Zero had found his place!

Math Involved: The book is a fun way to introduce the additive identity property and the zero property of multiplication. 
Note: The book can also be used to introduce zero as a placeholder in numbers like tens and hundreds; although, I felt the book did not justify this connection very well. 

Questions to Ponder:
1. What is a digit?
2. What did the count mean when he said "Zero meant nothing?"
3. What was Count Infinity's role? Why was it important?
4. What did the Numberator do? 
5. Count Infinity used the term "additive identity," what does this term mean?
6. What special powers did zero have?
7. What did the Multi-tube machine do?
8. How did zero find his place?

Activity Ideas:
This book is a great springboard into discussing properties of numbers but can also be used at a lower level to introduce what happens when we add or multiply with zero. 

Book Link on Amazon: http://bit.ly/APlaceforZero


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