Math Picture Book Post #3: Miss Lina’s Ballerinas

Miss Lina’s Ballerinas by Grace Maccarone is about “teamwork, making new friends, and the pleasures of ballet.”

It’s also about math.

In my previous post, I wrote about multiplication in terms of groups of and arrays. Both models can be explored in Miss Lina’s Ballerinas. Eight ballerinas–Christina, Edwina, Sabrina, Justina, Katrina, Bettina, Marina, and Nina–dance in four groups of two

Miss Lina's Ballerinas Groups

and four lines of two¹.

Miss Lina's Ballerinas Array

What happens when a new girl, Regina, arrives? Spoiler alert: three rows of three. What if there were ten dancers? Eleven? Twelve?

If you are playing alongMiss Lina’s Ballerinas falls into my third category; the math concept is between the pages but the author did not intend to write a math concept book.

¹ This bugs me. Should it?

6 Replies to “Math Picture Book Post #3: Miss Lina’s Ballerinas”

  1. That’s two lines of four, isn’t it? Is that your beef? (Or is it lines in one instance, groups in the other-in which case it shouldn’t bother you.)

  2. I think the issue is that the groups don’t necessarily have to be in lines. It draws attention to the physicality of the numerical situation important where it is unimportant. I think you address this by using a lot of natural sounding language around how groups are formed.

  3. I really wish they would dance in two lines of four although I guess while it shows commutativity it just does not rhyme well. I cannot see the lines of two in the picture without a fair bit of shifting my focus.

  4. Yep, it’s two lines of four vs. four lines of two that bothered me. I like having both groups and lines (sets and arrays?). This allows for both models of multiplication to be discussed. I agree “two lines of four” may not rhyme as well. There’s a way around that– the illustrator could have made a different choice. BTW, this was my first hint that the author/illustrator did not set out to write/draw a math concept book. More evidence? A boy joins the class in the sequel, Miss Lina’s Ballerinas and the Prince. Ten-ness isn’t mentioned.

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