Whenever I think of words and math hanging out together, I instantly think of story problems, which were the bane of my existence in grade school.  However, after reading a short segment in Rip the Page by Karen Benke, my perspective has drastically changed.  Story problems don’t have to be lame plot lines designed to confuse my ability to add or subtract.  The poet in me has been awakened to the possibility of adding, subtracting, dividing, and multiplying words.

In a section entitled, “A Note From: Betsy Franco,” the concept of mathematickles is introduced as the fusion of poetry and math.  She gives a few examples to get the muse juice flowing:

rooftops
porches
+ under cars
___________

where the neighborhood kitties are

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puddles – rescued worms = cloudy mirrors

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Franco’s initial idea was to use haiku as a base, but she encourages poets to take risks by playing with form and language.  The more broken rules, the better!  I found the idea of math poetry so whimsical and inspiring I couldn’t help but free write a few of my own mathematickles.

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millions of words
+ thousands of pages
________________

reader on board

- – -

tiny bladder  − all but four teeth + a wagging nubbin’ = one forgiven and spoiled dog

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Old stove  ×  high burn ratio  ÷  low cuisine IQ =  kitchen meltdown

- – -

Pile of paperwork² + reluctant adults + ornery (slow) computer × surprise variables =
Yay! Taxes are done.

- – -

 seeds aplenty
sunflowers
sweet peas
× snap beans
__________

songs of spring

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Betsy Franco has written an entire book dedicated to math poetry, called Mathematickles!  Creating word equations has never been more fun!  Endless inspiration is sure to ensue and no calculator is required.

Are you inspired to be a math poet?  Post your mathematickle or link in the comments.

Happy free writing!

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c.b. 2012

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