Max's Math Adventures is a math and language arts game created specifically for students in grades K-2. Each adventure focuses on one math skill integral to the K-2 math curriculum. Hosts Max and Ruthie challenge young students to solve real-world math problems by using clues embedded in a fun, rhyming poem. Students will receive immediate feedback from Max, and are often encouraged to self-assess by comparing their answers to Max and Ruthie's. In addition to Max's Challenge, students can also try their hands at the Extra Challenges. Here you'll find extension activities of different levels to accommodate your students' varying needs. There is also an Activity Page for you to print out and distribute to your class. This page offers students an additional activity related to the poem and a blackline illustration to color in.
By participating in Max's Math Adventures, students will:
- apply math skills to solve problems
- find mathematical problems in everyday situations
- relate everyday language to mathematical problems and symbols
- use creative thinking and math skills to figure out the solution
- use an interactive online form
To make the most effective use of this activity, it is suggested that you set aside two to three class periods of 30-40 minutes each. See How to Use this Game for suggested classroom activities.
National Standards Correlations
While students enjoy Max's Math Adventures, they will be participating in an activity that correlates with many of the national standards for both mathematics and language arts.
Relevant standards for math instruction as set forth by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics include:
- Use problem solving approaches to investigate and understand mathematical content. (1a)
- Formulate problems from everyday and mathematical situations. (1b)
- Develop and apply strategies to solve a wide variety of problems. (1c)
- Verify and interpret results with respect to the original problem. (1d)
- Acquire confidence in using mathematics meaningfully. (1e)
- Relate physical materials, pictures and diagrams to mathematical ideas. (2a)
- Relate their everyday language to mathematical language and symbols. (2c)
- Realize that representing, discussing, reading, writing and listening to mathematics are a vital part of learning to use mathematics. (2d)
- Use mathematics in other curriculum areas. (4d)
- Relate the mathematical language and symbolism of operations to problem situations and informal language. (7b)
- Represent and describe mathematical relationships. (13b)
Related standards for English and language arts instruction as set forth by the National Council of Teachers of English include:
- Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
- Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
- Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint.
- Students use a variety of technological and informational resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
- Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).
Listed below are the specific skills and topics covered in each of Max's math poems.
|GRADE||POEM TOPIC||MATH SKILL|
|K||Max's Fantastical Zoo||recognize difference in shapes|
|K||Max's Super Stars||counting up to 30|
|K||The Perfect Parade||comparing and ordering numbers|
|K||Max's Measuring Mania||linear measurement|
|K||Farmer Fred's Counting Fun||whole number addition up to 10|
|1||The Summer Mystery Garden||sorting and classifying|
|1||Card Castle Addition||addition facts|
|1||Subtraction Square Dance||subtraction facts|
|1||A Tale about Zeke and Zack||equal parts (fractions)|
|1||Counting Coins||counting up to 100|
|1||Size by Your Eyes||size comparison|
|1||A Sweet Story||estimation up to 100|
|2||Beekman's Ice Cream Shop||money|
|2||Good-bye Training Wheels||adding 2-digit numbers|
|2||A Hairy Situation||simple graphing|
|2||Magnifying Max||number patterns|
|2||Dr. Proctor's Multiplying Machine||concrete multiplication|
How to Use This Game
Max's Math Adventures is best used as a teacher-guided activity. Here is how you may want to manage this game over three class periods of 30-40 minutes each:
Read the poem aloud with your students. Help your students identify the math problem that Max and Ruthie are posing as well as the relevant information provided in the poem. Discuss possible solutions to Max's challenge. Creative solutions using real-world applications should be explored. Take notes of the discussion on large chart paper for use during the next session.
Re-read the poem and Max's Challenge. Review list of possible solutions brainstormed from Day 1. Ask students if they can come up with any additional solutions and mark these down on the chart paper. As a class, decide on one solution from the list. Insert and submit your class's solution using the online form.
Read Max's response aloud to the class. If your students' solution is incorrect, you may need to spend an additional class period reviewing the poem and the Challenge. If so, repeat the steps above.
Print out the Activity Page and distribute to your students to complete. Invite those who finish early to try the Extra Challenges. Or, spend one more class period working on the Extra Challenges.
- Print out and distribute the Activity Page and enourage students to color in the blackline art and do additional math activies related to the poems.
- Have students tell about situations in their everyday lives that involve numbers or mathematical operations (telling time, taking a temperature, counting money, etc.). These can be listed on a chart and added to as students discover more ways that mathematics is integrated into their daily lives.
- Use the Max's Math Adventures math concepts as the basis for other activities. For instance, if the focus is sorting and classifying, create a large Venn diagram of students in the class. Then have students sort by characteristics such as "brown hair," "wearing shorts," etc. For younger students, allow active participation by using actual objects placed into containers for sorting.
Max's Math Adventures provides an immediate response to students by recognizing if they have utilized the clues and other information in the poems to correctly complete Max's Challenge. In addition, the following informal assessment techniques can be used to evaluate your students:
- To assess critical-thinking strategies, ask students to circle the "clue words" they used in the poem to solve Max's Challenge.
- To assess use of creative solutions, ask students to explain how the activity relates to their own lives. Have students formulate other mathematical problems from situations in their daily life.
- To assess students' understanding of mathematical language and symbols, have students write a real-world math problem (it can be a poem if they want the extra challenge). Students can challenge classmates' to solve their problems (or poems).
The following Scholastic supplemental materials can be used in conjunction with Max's Math Adventures:
Poems to Count On: 30 Terrific Poems and Activities to Help Teach and Reinforce Math Concepts by Sandra Liatsos
Math poems for young students with many activities to teach patterning, numeration, and much more.
Quick and Easy Learning Centers: Math by Patsy Kanter
Lots of activities that reinforce key math concepts for students in grades 1-3.
Reading and Writing Poetry: A Guide for Teachers by Judith Steinbergh
A resource for teachers who want to engage their students in the language and experience of poetry.
Poems Just for Us! 50 Read Aloud Poems with Cross-Curricular Activities for Young Learners by Bobbi Katz
A treasury of poems written especially for young students with dozens of cross-curricular activities.
To order any of the Scholastic Professional books mentioned above, call 1-800-724-6527.
Software Programs that correlate with skills in Max's Math Adventures include:
Carnival Countdown by Edmark
Contains different activities including sorting, shape recognition, and manipulation, and adding and subtracting at variable degrees of difficulty.
Treasure Galaxy by The Learning Compan.
Students solve math problems to move from orbit to orbit while participating in an adventure game. Degree of difficulty changes with student responses.
Zoo Zillions by Edmark
Contains a variety of activities relating to number concepts, money, and using pictures to represent mathematical situations. Degree of difficulty can be set as needed.
Math Rabbit by The Learning Company
Helps students explore basic number concepts as well as develop skill in adding, subtracting, and recognizing number relationships.
Meet the Author
When not playing the role of Max, Dan Greenberg assumes his normal identity as a lonely crusading writer fighting a never-ending battle against dull math books. Greenberg's math titles include 30 Wild and Wonderful Math Stories and Funny, Fabulous Fraction Stories, and Comic Strip Math (Scholastic) -- all dedicated to the proposition that math books can be both fun and useful at the same time. Dan Greenberg lives in the New York area with his wife and two children.
Dan is responsible for the following Max Adventures:
The Summer Mystery Garden
Max's Fantastical Zoo
Beekman's Ice Cream Shop
Card Castle Addition
Subtraction Square Dance Sing-Along Jubilee
Good-bye Training Wheels!
A Tale about Zeke and Zack
To order any of the Scholastic Professional books mentioned above, call 1-800-724-6527.
"Max" poet Jack Silbert spends most of his days as the editor of Scholastic MATH Magazine, used in middle-school classrooms nationwide. The magazine's goal is to make math fun and relevant for students, while helping teachers touch all the curriculum bases in a lively manner. Jack is also the author of the popular "Math Mysteries," a collection of humorous and reproducible stories and problem-solving activities for grades 2-5 (Scholastic, 1-800-724-6527). Jack proudly lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Jack is responsible for the following Max Adventures:
Max's Super Stars
The Perfect Parade
Max's Measuring Mania
Farmer Fred's Counting Fun
Size By Your Eyes
A Sweet Story
A Hairy Situation
Dr. Proctor's Multiplying Machine