Using The Picture Book The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein in the Math Curriculum

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The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Gerstein, Mordicai. (Roaring Brook Press, 2003 ISBN 0761317910. Order Info.) Picture Book Nonfiction. Grades K+.
This article is an excerpt from Picture Book Math by Carol Otis Hurst and Rebecca Otis which is now available in its second edition, as an eBook.
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When the World Trade Towers were being built, a French high wire artist slung a cable between them and walked back and forth on it while police tried to catch him at each end. The book is a tribute to the towers themselves and to the determination of Philippe Petit, the tightrope walker.

Gr 1-3 PROBLEM SOLVING
List the problems mentioned in the book. Beside each problem put possible solutions. Underline the solution Petit used.

Gr 2 & 3 MEASUREMENT
Make a list of the various units of measure used in the book. Convert each measurement into another unit of measure. For instance, the first page states that the towers were a quarter mile high. How many feet or yards would that be?

Gr 3 MEASUREMENT, ESTIMATION
How would you go about measuring the tallest buildings in your town? Estimate the height of that building. Check your estimate against public records. How close did you get?

Gr 3 MEASUREMENT, PROBLEM SOLVING
Gather together as many different ropes and cables as possible. Weigh each one. The samples are most likely of different lengths. Calculate how much they would weigh if they were as long as the one Petit used.

Gr 2 & 3 PERSPECTIVE
Look at the illustrations in the book that show the view from the top of the tower looking down. Notice what happens to the lines in those illustrations. Imagine yourself up there looking down. Look at paintings that show parallel lines nearly converging. Draw pictures of yourself looking down or looking up at the towers from the ground. Figure out how the angles should be.

Gr 1-3 PROBLEM SOLVING, DATA GATHERING AND ANALYZING
Philippe uses a pole to help him keep his balance on the high wire. Walk a balance beam using no pole, poles of various lengths, arms outstretched, arms at the side, holding open umbrellas and other objects. How will you decide which ones help you keep a balance? Find a way to record and display your findings.

End of excerpt

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If you'd like to read more about using kids' books in the math program check out the math section of our web site at:
http://www.carolhurst.com/subjects/math/math.html

If you'd like to know more about this eBook including more samples and the table of contents see:
http://www.carolhurst.com/products/pbmcd.html

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