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Poetry for Children
Poetry Break #17

A poem for Mathematics

Take a Number
by Mary O'Neill

Imagine a world
Without mathematics:

No rulers or scales,
No inches or feet,
No dates or numbers
On house or street,
No prices or weights,
No determining heights,
No hours running through
Days and nights.
No zero, no birthdays,
No way to subtract
All of the guesswork
Surrounding the fact.
No sizes for shoes,
Or suit or hat
Wouldn't it be awful
To live like that?

From Marvelous Math
collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins;
Simon and Schuster, 1997

Introduction
The following poem asks us to imagine no math in the world. For some children that might seem like a wonderful prospect, but the results could be surprising.

Extension
Continue the poem by brainstorming a list of other objects that have anything to do with numbers and math.