# Math Genius Goes to Middle School and Learns that Friendship and Pi Involve More Than Circumference and Diameter

Updated on May 31, 2018

Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

## Middle School and Challenges for a Math Genius

Middle school can be a challenge for all twelve-year-olds, but what if you are a math genius and have been homeschooled up until the age of 12? Lucy Callahan's grandma decides that she must actually go to school now that she is ready for the middle school years. Lucy was struck by lightening when she was a young girl and the lightening strike created the dubious problem of being a math savant. Now she must decide how to keep her love of math and her talents as a math genius from interfering with learning to make friends when she goes to school. Lucy's supercomputer brain is full of numbers. Lucy also sees colors and shapes in numbers. She also remembers all of the numbers that she sees and loves to create patterns with her math skill. Lucy would like to attend Harvard, but her grandmother thinks that she is still too young to go to college even if she is a math genius. The new school year is beginning at John Glenn Middle School and this will be her beginning for new adventures with students who are of the same age. Windy becomes her first new friend and more adventures await with this new friendship. Windy is an animal lover and together she and Lucy start a school project to help the pet shelter with all kinds of new ideas for getting the dogs and cats adopted. Lucy uses her skills with numbers to figure out statistics for dog adoptions and even redesigns the shelter website to make it more attractive for potential new pet parents. Lucy also writes blog posts for the dogs that need homes. A special dog named Pi attracts Lucy's attention and she writes a special blog to market Pi for adoption. She uses social media with pictures of Pi, but no success is coming. Pi's time is almost up and his cancer makes him unadoptable. Lucy posts one last blog and offers to do math homework forever for anyone who will adopt Pi. She posts the blog on a site for math masters and a surprise pet parent comes forward to adopt Pi. Lucy's love of numbers and their colors and shapes in her mind introduce her to a new concept that Pi is more than circumference and diameter in the math world.

Stacy McAnulty's Miscalculations of Lightning Girl is a charming story of friendship and the lesson that being a genius can make a difference in the world. This book is of special interest to me in that I am a volunteer for an animal shelter in my area and I highly recommend this book to young readers who love animals and want to make a difference for shelter dogs and cats.

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl was published by Random House Children's Books and is recommended for ages 10+. It has an ISBN of 978-1-5247-6757-0.

## Classroom Lessons for Reading and Math Teachers

Stacy McAnulty's delightful new book has a wealth of possibilities for use in both reading and math classrooms in middle school. It can be a difficult job to engage middle school students in reading and math and this book is highly recommended for use in classrooms. It is a chapter book and many teachers use chapter books in reading projects that last for several weeks. The chapters can be read in a group reading session each day with one or more chapters being read aloud by the entire class. Students can also read the book as individuals.

*Read one or two chapters each day in a group reading session. Math teachers will also want to include this book in a fun reading project to demonstrate that math is actually a cool subject.

*How does Lucy use her love of numbers to help the animal shelter and find homes for the animals? Brainstorm with students as you read about the ways that Lucy uses numbers to reorganize the shelter's information about the dogs.

*Math teachers can call attention to the illustration at the end of the story with the section All About Fibonacci. Lucy sees math all around her. Brainstorm with the students about math in nature. Where do your students see math concepts? This idea makes a great class project.

*Take a field trip to your local animal shelter after reading The Miscalculations of Lighting Girl. How many students would like to become involved like Lucy with helping find homes for the animals in the shelter?

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