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Cheetah Math: Learning About Division from Baby Cheetahs

by Ann Whitehead Nagda

Cheetah Math tells the story of two cheetah cubs named Majani and Kubali who have just arrived at the zoo and need lots of care and attention from the staff, who use division to make decisions about their care. Soon, the two cheetah cubs are thriving and act as 'animal ambassadors', helping teach zoo visitors about the plight of cheetahs around the world. Great for teaching division and cheetah development.

This is one of our favorite middle-grades books for teaching division, as it provides an engaging, real world application (plus the cheetahs are adorable!)  The text and division are a bit complex (and the text can get lengthy), so this is definitely a book to use once your kids have a general understanding of division.

And...check out the other math-themed books by Nagda--Tiger Math (graphing), Panda Math (subtraction), Chimp Math (time), and Polar Bear Math (fractions.)

Cheetah Math Reading Level:

Interest Level:  Grade 3-5
DRA Level:  40
Lexile Measure: 990L
Guided Reading Level:  S

Read-Aloud vs. Individual Reading:
This book will need to be a read-aloud for most of the kids in the intended audience, other than fifth graders, as children generally do not read on the reading level (difficulty level) of this book until the end of fourth grade. Most fifth graders can likely read this book independently. But.... regardless of age, this is a great book to read aloud to the class and go through the division examples together.

See Inside Cheetah Math:

Here are pages inside this book. Like all the book in this series, there's quite a lot of text on each page, but there's really good, compelling math here! You may want to consider breaking the book up over a number of days so you can work through the math problems one at a time as a class and have the kids do related division activities for each section. This will deepen the experience, plus your kids will become more 'invested' in what happens to the cheetahs as the days go on (and as they become vicarious caretakers.)

Cheetah Math
lesson / activity ideas:

This book is a natural for using in division lessons in the classroom.  And luckily, a teacher on Teachers Pay Teachers has created some worksheets to accompany reading this book in class.  According to the product description, "Students use these pages as they read the book to answer questions during the reading of the text as well as answer some questions after reading the book. These pages could be completed by students independently or while having it read aloud to them by the teacher (whole class or in small groups)." 

To see these worksheets, click here:  Cheetah Math lesson / activity idea

Where to now?

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