Writing math poetry with homeschool teens

Writing Math Poetry with Homeschool Teens | Write poems that put a positive spin on math!

Math poetry—who would have thought?

I’ve always been a big fan of writing across the curriculum. After all, it just makes sense to tie writing into as many subjects as possible. Why separate the two when they’re so much happier married?

While it was’t hard to assign related writing when studying history, art, geography, or literature, I confess that dovetailing math and writing was a stretch for us. (Though I did sometimes have the kids write their own word problems. That counts, right?)

A number of years ago, my friend Jimmie at Jimmie’s Collage took up Math Mama’s challenge to write a poem that puts a positive spin on math. I thought it was a brilliant idea! Here a bit of math poetry written by her daughter. Isn’t it clever?

Untitled, by Emma
Dividing is divine,
And four plus five is nine.
Adding is just fine,
Four plus five is nine.
Negative and positive are always great.
But four plus six is is not eight.

Writing math poetry of your own

Why not plan a time to squeeze a math poetry activity into your teen’s homeschooling day? Because there are no prizes involved, and no deadline, it’s easy join Math Mama’s challenge any time! And if you’d like to share your poems here as well, you know I’d just love to see ’em!

Meanwhile, you can visit a page filled with fun number poems you’re sure to enjoy. Here’s the first one to whet your appetite!

Money Poem
Penny, penny, easy spent,
Copper brown and worth one cent.
Nickel, nickel, thick and fat,
You’re worth 5. I know that.
Dime, dime, little and thin,
I remember—you’re worth 10.
Quarter, quarter, big and bold,
You’re worth 25, I am told.
Half a dollar, half a dollar, giant size.
50 cents to buy some fries.
Dollar, dollar, green and long,
With 100 cents you can’t go wrong.

Edit: Jimmie duly chastised me, wondering why I wasn’t writing math poetry. So I too have risen to the challenge!

Of Sides and Angles
Geometry, ordered and tidy,
Pyramid, circle, and locus;
Precision of sides and of angles,
A midpoint that keeps me in focus.

Symmetry, area, compass,
Diameter bisects a chord;
Distance, dimension, and drawing,
You see why I never get bored.

Parallel planes and perspective,
The measure and tilt of a line;
Volume and ratio and surface,
Geometry suits me just fine.

Tips for writing math poetry

  • Provide students with math word lists such as general math terminology, money vocabulary words, geometry vocabulary, and numbers and symbols. Instead of staring at a blank page, they’ll find all sorts of words and ideas to kickstart their math poem!
  • Your teen’s math textbook is another great place to gather ideas.
  • Make an acrostic poem. Start with a general category such as algebra, geometry, fractions, or even mathematics. Then, look for ways to work in appropriate math terms to fill in the acrostic.
  • Try writing math poetry using other common poetry formats, such as haiku, Never poems, or cinquains.
  • Their poems don’t have to rhyme! But if they’d like to take up the challenge, an online rhyming tool such as RhymeZone will be their new best friend!

7 Comments

  • Posted February 3, 2010

    Amy

    I too was impressed by this… mostly because I think I’d have to pick my chin up off the floor if my boys ever were to write a poem about math 😉

    Amy in Peru
    http://fisheracademy.blogspot.com – homeschool
    http://apilgrimsproject.blogpsot.com – personal

    • Posted February 3, 2010

      Kim

      That’s hilarious, Amy! Maybe you could approach it by suggesting they find one nice thing to say about math (rather like finding one good thing to say about the mean boy down the street, etc.) I hope you can squeeze a little something out of them–and that you’ll come back and post it later, too!

  • Posted February 7, 2010

    Jimmie

    These math poems are a wonderful way to encourage people to write across the curriculum. I was recently at a homeschool conference and a mom asked me about curriculum for teaching writing. I encouraged her to keep it simple. (She has little ones.) I told her to use what she’s already teaching them in other subjects as the topics for writing. There’s no need to add on another subject but instead you can incorporate writing into what you already do!

    PS — Where’s YOUR poem, Kim? 😉

  • Posted February 7, 2010

    Kim

    Touché, Jimmie. I’ve updated the post by adding a poem of my own. Thanks for giving me a dose of my own medicine!

    BTW, it was fun to write!

  • Posted February 14, 2010

    Jimmie

    Waa!! It’s great! So much math vocabulary in that one. I loved geometry too. We wordy folks prefer math with sentences and diagrams, I guess. But I’ve forgotten some of those terms you used. Well, that’s why we homeschool, right? To relearn alongside our children all that we forgot.

    • Posted February 15, 2010

      Kim

      Geometry was my favorite math, which is why I picked it for my poem’s subject. Still, I do confess that I had help in the form of a geometry terms page. It was just like using any other word bank to enhance vocabulary, though it came in especially handy when I needed to find a word containing a certain number of syllables.

  • Posted April 30, 2018

    edwin magania

    I love this poems it makes me happy

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