Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Edgar Allan Poe's Pie

I had to put Edgar Allan Poe's Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poemswhen it appeared on the new book list at our library. The idea of combining poetry and math was such a great idea that I had to see if the promise met the reality. I can say I was pleased with the outcome.

The author has converted 14 poems into math rhymes. The poets include Edgar Allan Poe, Edward Lear, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Lewis Carroll, Hilaire Belloc, Robert Frost, Eleanor Farjeon, A.A. Milne, William Carlos, Langston Hughes, Ogden Nash, John Ciardi, and Shel Silverstein. The math is embedded into the poems creatively. Problems include whole number functions, fractions, measurement, money, decimals, perimeter, percentages and order of operations. I'm sure I've left out something, but the problems cover a range of topics. The answers are all provided at the bottom of the page. Just to be clear the poems have all been rewritten. You will find the frame of the Raven, but not the Raven. That is why I suggest doing both together.

This would be a great way to combine poetry and math studies. Groups could be given a copy of the original poem and the math poem to compare, then come back and share with the group what they learned about the poem assigned. I was surprised at how well the author worked around the original structure of the poem to recreate new poems to meet the math challenge. Sometimes author's mean well in trying to use literature to engage kids in math, but it comes off forced. I was impressed at the creativity of these poems and the math embedded in them.

That being said, I do think it would be wise to make sure the students are exposed to the original material. It actually adds to the enjoyment of the joke if you realize it is a spoof of the original.

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