'Round the Rug Math:

Adventures in Problem Solving


A Literacy and Mathematics Series for Early Childhood, Pre-Kindergarten through 2nd Grade


'Round the Rug Math: Adventures in Problem Solving is a series of six books intended to supplement and enhance mathematics instruction in early childhood classrooms. Students are invited to actively participate in mathematics as they accompany the story characters on their adventures, solving problems through the use of manipulative materials and hands-on activities. Puppets, posters, and manipulative materials can be bought to accompany each book or teachers can make their own manipulatives using black-line masters at the back of each book.




Sneeze Builds a Castle
Pre-K to K
Spatial Concepts


.. Teeny Visits Shapeland
Pre-K to K


..Layla Discovers Secret Patterns
K to Grade 1
Mathematical Patterns


Each book in the ‘Round the Rug Math series stands alone, promoting a different area of mathematics. The books can also serve as supplements to a core curriculum. They consist of sagas or long epic adventure stories, extending over 8-10 lessons. This format provides a rich vehicle for the mathematics, allowing the mathematics concepts to build upon one another in a systematic, hierarchical way as the story progresses, and has the advantage of making a strong link between early childhood mathematics and literacy goals.

Each of the books in the ‘Round the Rug Math series utilizes an integrative approach to instruction, providing teachers with related activities in reading, language arts, social studies, science, dramatic play, and the arts. Family letters for activities at home are also provided.

The ‘Round the Rug Math stories are intended to be delivered orally to students. Oral storytelling can be a powerful teaching medium, enabling the teacher to interact with his or her students while providing them with an exciting learning experience. Outlines of the stories are provided for the teacher to facilitate telling the story. By making use of oral storytelling traditions found within many cultures, the books provide context, continuity, and motivation for the learning of early mathematical concepts. The books are set within different cultural contexts, and have been designed to address gender, racial/ ethnic, and cognitive equity issues. The books have been field-tested in over 50 urban and suburban classrooms.

Tan and the Shape Changer
K to Grade 1
Froglets Do the Measuring
Grades 1 and 2
Finding Mathapotamus
Grades 1 and 2
Data Analysis and Graphing

This month's featured book is Teeny Visits Shapeland. Click on the book cover, shown above, to find out about the book and get free sample lessons.

Click on all the book covers to find out about each of the books in the series. Free sample lessons for each book are available.



In the spirit of the Principles and Standards set forth by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM, 2000), the ‘Round the Rug Math supplementary series focuses on a range of geometric and spatially-based mathematics, including block-building and spatial relations, shape attributes, spatial and numerical patterning, part-whole relations geometry, estimation and measurement, and data analysis and graphing. NCTM (2000) stresses mathematical competencies in these areas, and research has shown that spatial reasoning is a central component of later mathematical achievement. Thus, this series provides a balance to the numerical content most often emphasized within early childhood mathematics.


Honors from the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation

'Round the Rug Math was selected as one of only twenty-nine projects across the United States to present educational materials at the Science Summit, sponsored by Excellence in Science, Technology, Mathematics Education Week, in Washington, D.C., March, 2004. It also had the distinction of being the only early childhood mathematics project presented at the Summit.

Evaluation of the Series

Our recent findings indicate that storytelling has a very positive impact on children's capacity to learn mathematics concepts. We are in the process of writing up the results for publication and will keep you updated.


The 'Round the Rug Math materials were developed with the support of a grant from the National Science Foundation.* Click Here for more information on this NSF-funded series.

Click Here for Information on Ordering the 'Round the Rug Math series for Your Classroom.


Click Here to View a Rationale for 'Round the Rug's Emphasis on Geometrical and Spatial Skills.


Click Here to View a Rationale for the Use of Story-telling in Teaching Mathematics.


Beth Casey, Senior Author of the 'Round the Rug Math Series


* This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF IMD Award # ESI 97-30698 awarded to Beth Casey, the Principal Investigator. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.