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  • Writer's pictureJessica Kaminski

Math Literature: The Doorbell Rang

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

You know I love reading picture books during my math lessons. I love finding a good book with great pictures that show students what math is all about. (You can check out some of my other favorites in my blog feed.) This week, I want to talk about a book that I have used with first graders-fifth graders: The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins. (This post does contain affiliate links.)

This book brings alive the meaning of division by sharing chocolate cookies evenly among children. Sam and Victoria sit down to share 12 cookies when the doorbell rings. Now, they have to share their 12 cookies among 4 children when the doorbell rings again! Each time, more people pile into the kitchen and Sam and Victoria are all too happy to evenly divide the cookies. You can watch a read aloud of this book by checking out the this YouTube Video.

I always teach this lesson when teaching the meaning of division. While this is one form of division (fair-sharing versus quotative division), it is a great way for students to see how the whole can be divided in different ways. It helps students to see a real version of changing the divisor and how the quotient becomes a lesser number when the divisor becomes a greater number.

I love to use hands-on materials for this lesson so students can physically divide the cookies. Then, I ask students to record what's happening each time using a related division equation. I consistently ask students to compare their equations and how they are changing each time by describing what each number represents. By the end of the lesson, students are having a blast sharing their thinking and hoping the doorbell doesn't ring again!

At the end of the story, there are 12 children sharing 12 cookies, but the doorbell rings. No one wants to get up and answer it, because they know they will have to share their cookies. However, being the sweet children they are, they answer the door to find Grandma standing there with an entire plate of cookies!

I love to further the conversation by considering how they would now share Grandma's cookies. It allows students to continue the task with greater numbers. Students can even include Grandma and Mom into the equation now.

This is a task that will not disappoint. Littles love it, but so do our older students, because it gives them a chance to get lost in a story. It has yet to fail in a division lesson. (If wanting to teach remainders, just extend the lesson to talk about including Mom and how that would change the number of cookies each person gets.) I highly recommend you check this book out and give the following activity a try! You can access your FREE download by clicking below:

I will continue to add a new math literature book each month! Leave me a comment about some of your favorites so that I can create some meaningful FREEBIES just for you!

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