My Geometry teachers love having picture books to use in their classrooms to introduce new topics, and they want me to read to their kids as much as possible. So I started the new semester with the book What's Your Angle, Pythagoras?: A Math Adventure, by Julie Ellis (Illustrated by Phyllis Hornung).
Obviously, we were talking about the Pythagorean Theorem, which the students mostly knew something about already, but the story helped cement the concept for them in the coming unit. What was great about the story, is it gave three "real-world" uses for the theorem; and isn't that one of the complaints that students have today? "When am I every going to use this?" I often felt that way about math in school (and other subjects as well), but this book allowed me to show them how they could use this equation to map distance, create right angles for building and also use tools correctly. It also lent some history to the math class and gave students a look at the historical fiction genre.
After we were done reading, the teachers led the students to write about what "real-life" examples they could use for the Pythagorean Theorem. One of the principals came by for a walk-through and said the students were engaged and seemed to enjoy the story; recalling what had been read and synthesizing the information into their writings and discussions.
One of the tools I used while reading this book was Google Play. I'd not used it before, but wanted an easy way to show the book to the students. I purchased the books for a few dollars (under $6, I think) and was able to project it from my iPad mini through the AirPlay/AirServer feature available. It made it so much easier to use and manipulate the book in front of the whole class.
In a couple of weeks I'll be using a picture book to introduce polygons!