Tiger Math: Learning to
Graph from a Baby Tiger




by Ann Whitehead Nagda
illustrated by Cindy Bickel

Tiger Math tells the story of T.J., a tiger born at the Denver Zoo who became an orphan as an baby. The zoo's veterinary staff takes over for his mother, feeding him by hand until he is able to eat on his own.

Tiger Math shares this compelling story of survival, and includes different types of graphs (picture, pie, line, bar) that chart his development in his early years.

This engaging book is a perfect for teaching graphs and would like to show your students a more in depth, 'real world' application of graphing. The photographs are over a decade old and they do show their age, but this doesn't detract much. The rest of the book is solid-- from TJ's development and growth under the care of the zoo staff to the accompanying graphs that track his progress. And if you like this title, check out the author's other math books about division, time, fractions, or subtraction.


Awards Won

   * Outstanding Science Children's Book 2001 -- Nat'l Science Teachers Assoc
   * Teacher's Choice Book --
International Reading Association


Reading Levels

Interest Level: Gr. 2-5                DRA Level: 38                   Lexile Level: 810L
Grade Level Equiv: 5.1             G
uided Reading:  P


See Inside Tiger Math

Below are sample spreads from inside Tiger Math. As there is quite a bit of text, this isn't a simple picture book that you would read to lead into a lesson on graphing. Instead, this is a book to build an entire lesson around!

Click image to see larger version



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Lesson Ideas
for Tiger Math

Do the Graphs Again lesson idea
Read the story through to your class--both the story of TJ the Baby Tiger --and-- the graphs that go along with his growth & development. Then, pass out the graphs following graphs to each student and as a class, go though the data to graph it again. You can either para- phrase the story when you share each piece of data to graph, or simple share the data. (All the data is in the book, of course).

For the main three graphs, click here. (We used the actual graphs in the book to make these graphs, just pasting a white grid over where the book's graphs showed data.)

Human vs. Tiger Development lesson ideas
You have the tiger's weight gain over the first months of his life, now here is the average human baby's weight gain (according to the World Health Organization).  It would be fun to graph the two (sort of like how the book compares T.J.'s weight gain and his father's on page 20). You can use the "TJ and Matthew" chart. To make it more interesting, perhaps vary the amount that the baby gains each week (within the correct averages listed above).


Baby's Age          Average Weight Gain         
0 to 3 months  --  5.5 - 8.5 ounces per week
3 to 6 months
  --  3.25 - 4.5 ounces per week

This exercise will give students additional practice graphing and will also show the tremendous difference in how rapidly tigers develop verses human babies. A nice cross-curricular activity. :)


To learn more about this book, click the link below.  Please note that if you purchase an item from Amazon, they give us a small referral fee. (This helps pay for site hosting costs, thus allowing us to keep everything free for site visitors!)






You may also want to check out other animal math books from this series. To learn more, click on the images below or here.  :)


Or visit our page of the very best children's books for teaching graphing: