Math Poetry

by Jimmie Lanley on January 19, 2010

A Challenge was issued by Math Mama to write a math poem, one that showed math in a positive light.  That fits in perfectly with our living math studies and our poetry studies. So here are our attempts at math poetry.

Untitled, by Sprite

Dividing is divine,

And four plus five is nine.

Adding is just fine,

Four plus five is nine.

Negative and positive are always great.

But four plus six is is not eight.

Metric System Limerick, by Jimmie

Sprite was a girl quite content

to use metric measurement.

Celcius, liters,

kilograms, meters,

She used them a hundred percent.

Living Math Limerick, by Jimmie

I once thought that math was a bore;

Arithmetic gross to the core.

My textbook I tossed;

To tests said, “Get lost!”

And now I like math more and more.

Try your hand at some math poetry and share it over at Math Mama’s challenge.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue VanHattum January 19, 2010 at 10:38 pm

Jimmie, May I copy your last one over at my blog? It is such a good response to the original Mother Goose poem. It feels as if you’re in conversation with ‘her’, and saying “Yeah, I know how you feel. Here’s how I solved my problem with that bad attitude.”

I’d also like to send a note with it to the Living Math Forum.

Thanks for taking my challenge! (…which I still haven’t done…)


owen thomas January 20, 2010 at 7:17 am

oh this is fun.

the twist in the last line (where
i’m all “what? *wait* a minute…”)
is *real good songwriting*.
repeating the line is a classic trick; good.
keep ’em coming.

the first limerick “doesn’t scan”.
(this means there’s a “beat” off somewhere;
the rhythmic pattern of a line of verse
is sometimes called its “scansion”.)
anyhow, to my mental “ear” it
sounds like i need 3 syllables
in met-er-ic. that’s cheating;

a more advanced criticism:
the best limericks have a “punch” line.
“… a hundred percent” has a nice
mathy flavor but the entire line
appears to have been created
to make the rhyme “fall” right…
nothing much is going on in
the “story”. everybody does
this that writes limericks…
and edward lear himself
(an early “great” in nonsense)
would even *reuse the first line*
(i consider this *beyond* cheating…
it isn’t even *playing the game*).
reasonable people can differ on this.

the second one’s great.
perfect limerick scansion
and a sentiment i like.

(“studying” math “works”…
and it’s a good idea to do
enough *of* it to stay a little
ahead of the class…
but it’s far better to *do* math
and to *talk about* it.
best of all, maybe, from my
point of view as a math teacher,
is if you [do both of these and
then] *write* about it.)

keep ’em coming!
.-= owen thomas´s last blog ..prehistory of MEdZ, part i =-.


nichole January 20, 2010 at 7:50 am

I finally have to comment;) I love your blog, such great resources and encouragement. And these math poems are brilliant, I think you have a writer on your hands.


Sheila Isbell January 20, 2010 at 10:39 am

Oh, Jimmie, those were a lot of fun! Have you taught Sprite the US Standard Measurments at all? I think we will each both to our kids. I have a friend wo lived outside the US unil highschool and to this dayhas a very hard time with it. I just don’t want that to happen to my kids and you knw toldsaying, “The more they know, the more they learn!”
Our house has sold. We will bein China soon.


Marsha January 20, 2010 at 12:46 pm

limericks are such fun! y’all did a great job!
.-= Marsha´s last blog ..Step right up =-.


Andrea Hazbun January 21, 2010 at 8:04 am

Hi Jimmie,
I´m Andrea, a homeschooling mother of an only son in Chile, South America. It´s always useful for me to read other mom´s blogs, since it is the only practical example of homeschooling I have. In my country around 20 families homeschool, and it is unheard of and not really supported (but not illegal!). If you have any kind of dayly or weekly schedule with your daughter, could you please share?


In Our Write Minds January 25, 2010 at 8:39 am

Jimmie, these are adorable! I think I’m going to have to borrow your idea for a future blog myself. What a concept to combine math and poetry! Nichole said it best: Brilliant! 🙂

.-= In Our Write Minds´s last blog ..Incredible homeschool sale benefits a family in need! =-.


Cristina January 28, 2010 at 6:37 am

I always enjoy catching up on your blog. Always some wonderful treasures to be found! I love your poems, especially the last one! It expresses so much in such a simple way!

Peace and Laughter,
.-= Cristina´s last blog ..Home Spun comic strip #440 =-.


Rachel Nc February 4, 2010 at 11:24 am

Love the math poetry!! Sprite is bright (and I’m not trying to be a poet there!)
I love your limericks too!


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