What Is a Number Story in Mathematics?

A number story is a short story that illustrates a math equation, making it easier for young students to understand the equation involved. For example, the equation 5+2=7 can be told as a story about five birds sitting on a tree that were joined by two more birds.

Teachers sometimes ask students to describe simple equations in the form of a number story. Besides increasing the child’s understanding of the equation and encouraging creativity, the activity can also be used to improve a child’s drawing skills by illustrating the story. Number stories are typically written or drawn for simple arithmetic operations such as addition and subtraction. Some examples of number stories include:

  • There were two children at home and then one went out to play. Now there is only one child in the house.
  • Andrew had four toy cars. His aunt gave him two more for Christmas. Now he has six.