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Wolf Themed Math

Updated on March 1, 2014

Wolf Math

The number of wolves in the world decreased to the point of near extinction but those numbers recently have been increasing. People's interest in wolves has increased as well. Today we will be discussing how we can teach math as part of a wolf unit study. We will be learning to count wolves, look for patterns in numbers of wolves, add and subtract wolves.

There are classic logic puzzles involving wolves. We will be graphing wolf populations, measuring in wolf units and playing games with a wolf theme. How many ways can you think of to teach math with a wolf theme? The wolves are excited to learn math so let's all howl for the wolves as we explore number concepts...

Photo Credit: Wolf by Caninest

on Flickr, Creative Commons

Counting Wolves - Learning Addition with Wolves

Begin the day by reading One Wolf Howls, a counting book that starts with one wolf and progresses page by page through the months of the year adding one more wolf each month. Talk about the illustrations and notice the change in seasons, the increase in the number of wolves and any other details that the children notice.

Spring Wolf Pups

Art Wolfe

Available on Allposters

The second time you read though the story, place a wolf pup on the chalk rail for each new wolf added in the book. Write the addition problem that would accompany that page. For example on the second page 1 + 1 = 2. Two wolves. Note: If you begin now teaching how to write the answer in words it will come naturally to the children.

Each time you teach about wolves don't forget to teach math as well. When you look for it, math is everywhere.

Show the children how to use a math mat and recording sheet to show how many wolves each month. Provide a recording sheet with the months of the year on the left and a space for writing number problems on the right. Children use a rubber stamp to show how many wolves each month and then record the number sentence.

One Wolf Howls (Arbordale Collection)
One Wolf Howls (Arbordale Collection)

Count the wolves from one to twelve. Learn the months of the year.

Safari Ltd. Good Luck Minis - Wolf Cubs - 192 Pieces - Quality Construction from Phthalate, Lead and BPA Free Materials - For Ages 5 and Up
Safari Ltd. Good Luck Minis - Wolf Cubs - 192 Pieces - Quality Construction from Phthalate, Lead and BPA Free Materials - For Ages 5 and Up

192 small hand painted wolf cubs. These wolves are perfect for counting, creating patterns and using as math manipulatives.

Wolf Rubber Stamp
Wolf Rubber Stamp

Each time a new wolf is added, show the children how to stamp another wolf.


Save the Wolf Poster by One_Planet
Available on Zazzle

How many wolves live in various countries across the world? What do those numbers mean? Today we will teach math using data of wolf populations from around the world.

Playing the Population Fluctuation Game will help children learn about the natural fluctuation of a pack of wolves over the course of a year with new pups being born, elderly wolves dieing, some wolves leaving to join other wolf packs while admitting new wolves outside their group.

Then let's begin to look at world populations of wolves as we count into the hundreds and explore what those numbers mean.

How Much does a wolf weigh?

If you read that a female wolf weighs 75 pounds and a male wolf weighs as much as 175 pounds, what do those numbers mean? Unless you have something to compare it to, these numbers are meaningless.

1. Research the facts. How much do wolves weigh? Why is there a range in the different answers. Record all of the answers you can find. Find the range, mean and medium weight of wolves.

2. Get out some bathroom scales and weigh each of the people in your group. Does anyone weigh the same as a wolf? Younger children might have to combine weights to come up to the same weight as a wolf.

Sunbeam SAB602-05 Full View Dial Scale
Sunbeam SAB602-05 Full View Dial Scale

Bathroom scale for comparing the weight of people and objects to that of a wolf.


Wolf Clock

Another math skill I teach is how to tell time. During our Wolf Unit Study it is fun to use a wolf clock for showing how the hands of the clock move from second to second, minute to minute and hour by hour. Clocks made for children often don't have the gears for making the hands work like a regular clock which will confuse the children into thinking that for example the hour hand always points to a number until it moves to the next, whereas the hour hand actually moves steadily on to the next number and will be half way between two numbers at the half hour. The wolf clock above will demonstrate this concept.

Learning to tell time can be fun while studying wolves. Practice answering the question, What time is it , Mr. Wolf

What's the Time, Mr. Wolf?
What's the Time, Mr. Wolf?

Tell the time with Mr. Wolf as he goes through his day-but watch out for him at mealtimes!

What's the Time, Mr. Wolf?
What's the Time, Mr. Wolf?

A finger puppet game. Follow Mr. Wolf and Little Wolf through the hours of their day. Digital and analog clocks on each page help us to learn to tell time.

What's the Time, Mr. Wolf?
What's the Time, Mr. Wolf?

Australian author and artist Jones here pits the wiles of a hungry wolf against a host of unsuspecting barnyard animals whom he invites to a "VERY special meal." Unbeknownst to the dinner guests, but quickly apparent to readers, is the fact that the animals themselves are the entrees. One by one, they ask, "What's the time, Mr. Wolf?" A die-cut hole features both the questioner and, with a flip of the page, the question. As the hours tick by toward dinnertime, the scheming wolf asks each animal to pick up the condiment that suits it best (mint sauce from the sheep, oranges from the duck and so on). Meanwhile, the animals frolic the day away at the market, beach and swimming hole. Spry watercolors offer a wealth of details that hint at the wolf's plot: a framed portrait of a turkey dinner hangs above Mr. Wolf's bed, he tucks a book titled "Cooking with Lamb" casually under his arm as he converses with the sheep. Mischievous allusions to other literary wolves include a triptych of porcine photos and an ancestral portrait of a wolf in grandma's clothing. In an anticlimactic ending, when Mr. Wolf finally announces, "It's... DINNER TIME!" he attempts to pounce on his assembled guests, who easily escape to the safety of the barn and party without him


Base Ten Counting with Wolves - Counting Hundreds of Wolves

Add and subtract large numbers of wolves by rolling dice and adding, subtracting, borrowing and regrouping wolves. Each small wolf pup represents one wolf while the other wolves represent 10, 100, and 1000 wolves respectively.

Start by placing the small wolves out one by one and counting. When you get to 10, exchange them for a larger wolf pup. Show the children how to roll the dice to determine how many more wolves to take. Once they understand how to play, let the children take turns adding wolves until they have reached the number of wolves in a chosen country. (See link above)

Schleich Wolf Puppy 14606
Schleich Wolf Puppy 14606

These wolves represent the tens place.

Plastic Base Ten Number Concepts Set
Plastic Base Ten Number Concepts Set

Base Ten Number Blocks could be used to represent the wolves. Teach numerical value, place value, equivalent value, and rounding. Includes 100 cubes, 20 rods, 10 flats, one block, and activity sheet.


Wolf Math on Wizzley

Come write about wolf math on Wizzley, a fun and easy place to express your opinion:

Is it time for teaching math, Mr. Wolf?

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    Post Comment

    • GonnaFly profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      This lens has been blessed by the maths angel and added to my best maths resources lens.

    • Becca Sanz profile image

      Becca Sanz 

      7 years ago

      The Wolf Population Fluctuation Activity Game sounds like lots of fun.

    • Eevee LM profile image

      Eevee LM 

      7 years ago

      Don't count your wolves before they hatch!


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