Below is an annotated list of children's literature for the elementary classroom. The books are organized by the Six Elements of Social Justice Curriculum Design (Picower, 2007). It is based on work by pre-service teachers at Montclair State University. They have read and reviewed these books and provided insights into how they can be used in K-5 settings.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Greedy Triangle

The Greedy Triangle, by Marilyn Burns

Book: The Greedy Triangle, By Marilyn Burns

Summary: There was a triangle who had many different jobs. He would do these jobs everyday, and one day he got bored and wanted to be something different. He wishes to experience life from the point of view of a shape with more sides such as a quadrilateral, pentagon, etc. So he visits a "Shape-Shifter" who transforms the triangle into a series of polygons with increasing numbers of sides. Eventually he almost becomes round. AT this point he relies that there was nothing wrong with just being a triangle and goes back to the “shape-shifter” and becomes a triangle again.

Reflection: The first thing that attracted me to this book was the title. I saw that you would be able to teach a numerous lessons off this one book. Obviously math, but also greed. And once I started to read it I figured you can also tie it into a cultural study by using different shapes instead of people to show the kids how all the shapes have a jobs and together they make up the world just like we do. We are all different and together we make up a world of our own.


  • Students could do a research project where they find out about the cultures of the world and find out how they all tie together.

  • Students could also have a set of equilateral triangles and as you are reading them the book they can add on another side ever time the book does. But before you read the part of what he becomes you can have them guess by looking at there own diagram.

  • Students could make a class art collage of themselves in a picture of the world to show how all the differences come together.

Curricular Units:

  • A unit on geometry: Not only are children introduced to the proper names of polygons, but also this book helps them to see shapes as they exist in their surroundings.

  • A unit on following directions.

  • A unit on differences and tolerance: shape, race, culture, religion.

  • A unit on respecting yourself and others: greed (having something and wanting more), self esteem.
Social Justice Education: Self-Love and Acceptance: Students learn about accepting themselves and recognizing they are different from other people.Respect of Others: Students learn about accepting cultural differences and how those differences can come together to form something strong and powerful.Exploring Issues of Social Justice: Students learn about differences: racism, cultural diversities.Social Movements and Social Change: The triangle is used as a metaphor for appreciating who you are and accepting the differences around you for who they are. Taking Social Action: Students explore how they can take action against racial prejudices and greedy behavior.

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