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 statisticsAverage 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.

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