Bean Thirteen – A great book for introducing division!

One of my all time favourite stories for introducing division is “Bean Thirteen” by Matthew McElligott.  He is a mathematically clever author whose stories play with important concepts in accessible ways.  “Bean Thirteen” is a story about 2 crickets who gather beans to eat, but find that, no matter how they share them, or with how many friends, there is always one left over! The story makes an excellent read aloud, and the pictures are worth sharing with students of all ages.  I ask that learners copy the pictures on key pages, then record what a mathematician would write for that particular image.  It inspires interesting conversations about doubles, groups of and division with remainders…

The next post contains some of the key images from the book so you can project them for your students to view and discuss.

Don’t forget to play “The Game of Remainders” as follow up!  Rules can be found by clicking here:



PS – For another, more advanced look at division and sharing, consider “The Lion’s Share”, also by Matthew McElligott.  In it, creatures share a single cake into increasingly small fractional pieces…  Smart – and visually appealing for kids looking to truly understand multiplication by fractions!

One response

  1. […] learning about math) is central to the story. For example, in Bean Thirteen by Matthew McElligott, divisibility is introduced when the characters don’t want to get stuck with the unlucky thirteenth bean. In If a […]

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