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Tuesday Teacher Tips: Mailing May

Welcome to the Tuesday Teacher Tips series! Each week we’ll highlight teaching and learning resources, ideas to use in the classroom, as well as things to ponder as you go about your teaching day.

Mailing May by Michael O. Tunnell (Greenwillow Books, 1997) is one of those picture books that can be used across the curriculum. It’s based on a true story of how five year old Charlotte May Pierstorff was mailed from Grangeville to Lewiston, Idaho. Her parents couldn’t afford the cost of the $1.55 train ticket to send her to see her grandmother who lived seventy-five miles away. So instead, her father took her to the post office and mailed her at a cost of fifty-three cents.

This book provides a great way to work with your students on comparing numbers through weight, money, and mileage.

Use the United States Postal Service’s website to develop an interactive math lesson for your students. First, have students enter the zip codes of where the “package” (May) started; Grangeville, Idaho is 83530. Then enter the zip code of where it’s going; Lewiston, Idaho is 83501. I chose package as the shape. Enter May’s weight, 48 pounds and 8 ounces.

To Express Mail May today would cost a whopping $94.45. To send her via Parcel Post would cost only $19.11. (However, she might be in that box a little longer!)

Have students choose different locations to mail themselves. Ask them to compute how many miles they will be shipped and then determine the cost of shipping. You could extend it further and have students compare the costs of flying, driving, taking a train, or being mailed. Have students calculate how much each mode of “transportation” costs per mile.

Have you used this book in your math curriculum? What did you do to extend the concepts of the book? Email and let us know. We’d love to hear from you!

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