“It was a bright sunny day when Zoro and Zibi were picking beans for dinner. Zoro started picking one bean after the other and passed them to Zibi. One, two, three, four… Zibi counted the beans. Zoro asked her,” How many do we have?”, She said, “Eleven”, Zoro decided to pick 2 more. Now he again asked her for the total number of beans. She said, “Thirteen”. Now they happily went back with their basket full of beans. Back at home, they sat in front of each other and wished to divide all the thirteen beans between them equally. No matter what they do, they were always left with the “13th bean” left over. When they couldn’t come up with any solution, they decided to call their friend over thinking it would be easier to divide the beans among the three of them. They couldn’t do it. So, they call other friends over. Can you find out how many friends they call so that they were able to divide the beans evenly?” – A story to teach division and introducing prime numbers.

” Panther the barn cat went hunting in the field and caught two mice every day. How many mice did he catch in four days?” – A story to teach addition.

“Panther went out to the woods and met a gray cat named Shadow. He invited her to come back to our barn and chase pigeons. There were 15 pigeons in the barn, and Panther chased six of them. He let Shadow have the rest. How many pigeons did Shadow chase?”Â  – A story to teach subtraction.

These are examples of some good stories. Every good story has various components that make it a good story. Read ahead to know in more detail what these components are and how you can be the best storyteller to your child

## Introduction To Storytelling

100,000 years ago, we started using storytelling to transfer knowledge from generation to generation.

27000 years ago we started transferring knowledge from generation to generation through cave paintings.

3500 year ago we started transferring knowledge from generation to generation through text.

Which one do you think our brain is mostly adapted to?

Storytelling for learning is as old as humankind. In our earliest days, cavemen and women drew stories to help teach new generations how to hunt and gather. In the Middle East, when a community couldnâ€™t find an answer to a major problem, a Hakkawati (storyteller) would narrate stories suggesting solutions so that members of the community could derive their own answers. Native American cultures that did not have a written language used storytelling to pass down history, customs, rituals, and legends. Such traditions exist all over the world and suggest one thing: stories are essential to learning and development.

Storytelling is basic to education. From a young age, children are exposed to stories that open up new worlds for them and expose them to characters and situations from which they can learn moral lessons. Many of these stories come through generations and are brought to life for a new generation by the storyteller at each telling.

The purpose of telling stories in the field of mathematics, according to some great authors, is to create an environment of imagination, emotion, and thinking; to make mathematics more enjoyable and more memorable; to engage students in a mathematical activity; to make them think and explore; and, perhaps most importantly, to help them understand ideas and concepts.

## What Is A Story?

A story is a narrative unit. A unit comprising of beginning, a unit of conflict or expectation, a unit of middle that makes the story complex, and an end that resolves the conflict. A story is all about pleasing the audience. It is not about the teller or the reader, but the listener or the audience.

## Components of Every Story

There are six major components of any great story. They are:

### 1) Setting

It is the location and time in which your story takes place. You can name a familiar place, like your kid’s favorite ice cream parlor in the town or an unknown land where the magic happens. It totally depends on the topic, your child’s interest, relevance, and accountability.

### 2) Characters

A good story always has at least two characters. These characters should have a defined role and they should impact the story. There can be many characters, but a story must have

• A protagonist, the central character of the story. He or she has a clear goal to accomplish or a conflict to overcome and
• An antagonist, the one who opposes and creates problems for the protagonist to achieve the desired goal. The antagonist can be presented in the form of any person, place, thing, or situation that represents a tremendous obstacle to the protagonist.

### 3) Plot

A plot as a literary term is defined as the structure of events that make up the movements of a story through time; characters and settings are organized around the plot in a logical pattern of cause-and-effect. Plots can be simple or complex in structure. Plot answers the WHYs and HOWs.

### 4) Conflict

The conflict is what drives the story. Itâ€™s what creates tension and builds suspense, which are the elements that make a story interesting. If thereâ€™s no conflict, not only will the audience not care, but there also wonâ€™t be any compelling story to tell. Conflict is what engages an audience.

### 5) Theme

The theme is what the story is really about. Itâ€™s the main idea or underlying meaning. Often, itâ€™s the storytellerâ€™s personal opinion on the subject matter. A story may have both a major theme and minor themes.

### 6) Narrative Arc

Setup: The world in which the protagonist exists prior to the journey. The setup usually ends with the conflict being revealed.

Rising Tension: The series of obstacles the protagonist must overcome. Each obstacle is usually more difficult and with higher stakes than the previous one.

Climax: The point of highest tension, and the major decisive turning point for the protagonist.

Resolution: The conflictâ€™s conclusion. This is where the protagonist finally overcomes the conflict, learns to accept it, or is ultimately defeated by it. Regardless, this is where the journey ends.

## How to make Storytelling effective?

### A. How to make storytelling effective through Setting?

#### 1) Include Inciting Incident

STORY:

In this story, I have placed an “Inciting Incident”, which means putting forth a problem that encourages them to keep listening.

In this case, the inciting incident is how the man had everything with him but was still sad and disheartened. This detail of the story will hook the readers to listen more.

#### 2) Create a Detailed Setting

STORY:

On a hot summer evening, a little boy in his sky blue t-shirt and beige shorts went to the ice cream parlor truck which was parked at the corner of the street. The sun was bright, the air was heavy and thus it seemed he had traveled more than 10 blocks, but it had only been 2. He was lethargic and slower than ever. He was slowly lifting and placing his little feet on the concrete sidewalk. All he could think of was a big, cold, sweet, fruity scoop of his favorite mint and chocolate ice cream. As he reached the parlor, he ordered for one scoop of pure love and finished it sitting under a huge luscious green tree. This one cost him \$6. He had \$18 with him. After receiving the change, he started going back to his house happily. But, he realized about his cousin who was coming to his house later in the evening. So, he decided to get 1 ice cream for him as well. Can you tell me how much money will he be left within the end?

In this story, I have given a thorough description of the setting. Incorporating the 5 senses ( touch, sight, smell, hearing, and taste) into your story helps listeners put themselves into the shoes of the character.

### B. How to make storytelling effective through characters?

STORY:

Ezlyn Woosh, a lady in her late sixties is generous, loving, caring, funny, and beautiful. She feeds the neighborhood cats every morning before going to the city library. This morning when she wakes up from her 9-hour long sleep, she found she didn’t have enough milk to feed all the cats evenly. However, she has packets of bread in the basement. While she took the steps to the basement, she saw all the cats parked in her porch, waiting to be fed. She hurried to the basement and came back with three packets of bread. Each packet has 10 bread slices. Help her divide these 3 packets of bread between 5 gorgeous looking cats evenly. How many breads would each cat consume?

No one really gets excited by a character named James Thomson. Giving your character a unique or crazy name is a bit of a cheat to making them memorable. However, it’s still worth the thought. In this story, I have picked out the name Ezlyn Woosh in order to make it more memorable. Names of your characters should be relevant. You can take more creative liberty in naming your characters if the setting or theme of the story is imaginary.

#### 2) Give your characters a good arc

STORY:

Sumo, the warrior is away from his hometown, his friends, his best friend, Trutty, the dog. Sumo is a friendly boy and gets along with the new people he met in this part of the country. He was quick in making new friends, he was smart to impress everyone around him. On his last day, nobody was happy to bid goodbye to him. He was unhappy as well but, he was quite excited to meet his people back home. On the day he was supposed to leave, he was elated to go back so he met all his new friends and started his journey home. He was quite informed about the route but he must have forgotten it. It was getting dark, he didn’t have enough food to sustain the entire night. He sat on the bank of a river and started crying. A group of frogs came on the shore and saw the big boy weeping. The papa frog asked Sumo the reason behind his grief. Once the orchestra of frogs heard his tale, he told him they could help. So, papa frog told Sumo to give them special food from a nearby well. Sumo happily agreed to help them. Mumma frog asked all the twelve frogs to line up in ascending order based on age. Now, she informs Sumo to divide the special food in such a way that the older member gets 3 more food pieces than the immediate younger. She asked him to give 3Â  food pieces to their youngest, Toto the frog and then proceed likewise. Help him calculate the number of special food pieces received by frog 2, till frog 12.Â

In this story, the protagonist, Sumo has a well-arched character. He is happy and sad, He faces a lot of emotions through the story.

#### 3) Building complete antagonist

STORY:

In a magical city of Sundae lived two best friends, Etu and Potu. They shared a great bond. Every morning Etu would leave his house for school and pick up Potu on his way. They were in the same grade, sat next to each other, shared their lunch, played together, had a common interest in math and poetry. They were inseparable. Potu was very excited because Etu’s birthday was due in a couple of weeks. Etu’s father bought 4 packets of their favorite chocolates for him to distribute among his classmates. Etu happily slept on the night before his birthday. When he woke up the next morning, he found so many presents from his family, all decorated in his room. He happily changed into his uniform to go to school. When he came downstairs to meet his parents, he saw them a little worried. His mom had prepared his favorite breakfast- Pancakes! The dinning session was quite and hence he couldn’t enjoy the breakfast to the fullest. When he asked his mother why they were upset, she told him there was a robbery in the neighborhood last night. He got really worried. His mother also informed him that the thief took away 1 packet of his chocolates and now they were only left with three. Etu was unhappy to hear that but, he didn’t want to upset his parents so he told them it was fine and he is happy to distribute 3 packets. On his way to school, he met Potu who was elated to meet him. He wished him and gave him a hug. Potu could sense that something went wrong. Etu told him how there was a thief in their house last night and he took away one of his chocolate packets. Potu decided to first plan the number of chocolates they would give to each kid in their class. According to their previous plan, they had 80 chocolates; 20 chocolates per packet. Now, that the mean thief took away one packet. Can you tell me how many chocolates they are left with? Yes! Their class consists of 20 children. Help them calculate the number of chocolates each one of them will get if they distribute evenly.

A story is effective when the antagonist (negative character) is well thought about. The negative character holds a special role in the story. An antagonist is responsible for the twists and turns of the story. The antagonist in a story can be a person, a situation, a belief, or a thing. Anything that makes the life of the hero difficult is the antagonist. For the sake of the story as well as a better character arc for the protagonist, a negative character is vital.

### C. How to make storytelling effective through Plot?

#### 1) Making a believable plot

STORY:

The city’s most brilliant baker, Mr. Choo – Choo has set up a stall in new town. Everyone knows about it and they cannot hold their excitement to try out his signature chocolates. While Choo – Choo was setting up the stall, he received an important phone call from his mother. He was required to be at his mother’s residence on an urgent basis. He knew the stall would open soon and he could not leave it unattended. Mr. Choo- Choo was also unique in his way of working. He did not keep any help at all. He prepared material, baked, and packaged them on his own. He liked to do everything by himself. But, today he was in a need of a helper. He had prepared all the delicious chocolates but needed to pack them. So, he called a friend who lived nearby and asked for her help. His friend, Red reached on time. Choo- Choo thanked her for helping him with this. Choo – Choo informed Red that he has two kinds of boxes for his chocolates. There is one big box that has 10 chocolates and small bags that can have less than 10 chocolates. If a customer wants 14 chocolates, she should give him one box i.e., 10 chocolates and place 4 chocolates in one bag. This completes the order. Ch00- Choo informed Red he has pre-packed 15 boxes of 10 chocolate each but she needs to pack chocolates into the bags as per customer needs. Ch00- Choo was running late so he left for his mother’s. Red was overwhelmed but she had understood the process well. The first customer came in. She was a little girl wearing a red knee length dress with white polka dots all over. She came in holding her teddy bear and asked for 16 chocolates. Red smiled back at her and gave her a box of chocolates that has 10 chocolates and placed 6 chocolate pieces in the pouch, making it 16. The girl went back happily with her chocolates. The next customer was an old lady who ordered 9 tasty chocolates. She started pouring one chocolate after the other in a pouch. The lady went with her pouch filled with 9 tasty treats. She was busy selling chocolates that she didn’t realize Mr. Choo- Choo was back in the stall. There came another man with his son and ordered for 19 chocolates. She knew what she had to do. So, she placed one box of 10 chocolates and started placing 9 chocolates in a pouch. It was a time taking process and the boy was getting restless. Mr. Choo- Choo came to the counter and gave away 2 boxes of chocolates after removing one chocolate from the second box. That still makes it 19 chocolates and was much faster. The boy happily held his chocolates in his hands and went away.

In this story, I have not magically created a solution to the character’s problems. In the case of Mr. Choo – Choo, he remembered his friend lived nearby and he taught her his packing style. Whereas, Red makes her share of mistakes in packing and learns through it instead of doing everything right immediately. A plot must be real, the coincidences should not solve the character’s problem all at once. The coincidence should help the character move a step or two forward in solving her or his problem.

#### 2) Create Curiosity

STORY:

In this story, I have created suspense and curiosity about the beautiful woman that all the girls wished to meet. Details like these create interest in the listeners’ mind and this makes them want to know more.

### D. How to make storytelling effective through Conflict?

#### 1) Create conflict by giving the protagonist an aim

STORY:

In this story, the protagonist has a definite aim to give everything to his sister and all his decisions are based on the aim. The conflict in this story arises because of Ruru’s aim.

#### 2) Create conflict through the antagonist

STORY:

In this story, the antagonist (Raka) has a set aim and that leads to the conflict in the story.

### E. How to make storytelling effective through Theme?

#### 1) Supporting Scenes

“Could you stop being insensitive to my friend?”, Rose shouted at her brother. He said, “That is a balloon, it is not a friend, not a person.” Rose’s pink bright face now turned sad. She took her balloon and left his brother’s room. She didn’t even come downstairs for dinner. When the mother asked Joe about it, he narrated the entire incident. Post dinner he went out for a stroll. He went to the nearby park and bought 10 balloons for his little sister. When he returned home, he went straight up to Rose’s room where he found her fast asleep. Her best friend, the yellow balloon was tied with a string to her study chair. He quietly placed other balloons around her room. The next morning when she woke up, she found herself surrounded by so many colorful balloons. She ran to Joe’s room and gave him a tight hug. Joe exactly knew what this was for. She said, “I have 3 red balloons, 2 blue balloons, 1 white balloon, and 4 pink balloons. Yay!” She could hardly keep her excitement to herself. She called all the new balloons family of her yellow balloon. When she reached school, she told all her classmates how Mr. yellow, her balloon was missing his family, so Joe bought them home last night. Her most strict teacher, Mrs. Stu also wanted to know the reason behind her happiness. On her way back home, he asked her mother who had come to pick her up to take her to a store. She wanted to buy something for Joe from her pocket money. This made the mother very happy. So, she went ahead and bought a set of paint brushes for her brother who had just started off his painting classes recently.

In this story, a lot of scenes are built to show the reader that Red was happy. Her actions at home, school, and then the gesture of buying something for her brother all try to establish that she is really happy. A good story has supporting scenes through which the listener understands the emotions of the characters and the situation.

#### 2) Opposite Characters

” In a small village of Yuyu lived a small family in their mud house. The family consisted of the father and his two sons. The two boys didn’t really get along. However, they did not wish to upset the father, so didn’t bring this up in front of him. He was a very nice, hardworking man. He managed well between household and outside work. One unfortunate day, he got very sick. He was working in the field and got a stroke. The older son was informed by his father’s peers and he got him admitted into the hospital. He was so occupied in the official work of the hospital that he forgot to inform the younger brother. The older one also thought that his younger brother would be of no help. When the younger boy reached home later that night, his neighbors informed him about his father’s condition and he rushed to the hospital. He stormed inside the hospital and charged at his elder brother. Their brawl ended as the doctor informed how it was more important for them to arrange the money for their father’s treatment instead of fighting with each other. They needed a total sum of 10,000. The elder brother rushed out of the hospital to arrange the money. He didn’t ask the younger one for any help. He reached the place where he has worked for 5 years and asked for a loan of 10,000. The owner could not give him 10,000 but, did manage to give him 3000. He was still left with 7000 to arrange from somewhere. He had some gold in his house, so he went ahead and exchanged it for some money. He managed to get 5000. He was still short of 2000. He didn’t know what to do next, who to go to, whom to ask. He came back to the hospital to deposit 8000 and request the doctor to start the treatment. In the meanwhile, he would arrange the rest of the amount. The doctor was not ready to begin. However, the younger son just walked in with the remaining amount and handed it over to the doctor. The younger one informed this was out of his savings. The elder brother did not ever believe that the younger one could help them in any way. He was pleasantly surprised. In a couple of days, the father became better.

In this story, the two characters are not against each other but, their ways of conducting themselves are very different from one another. In a good story, you can have two different kinds of ways of approaches. This makes the story interesting and gives different viewpoints to the audience.

### F. How to make storytelling effective through Narrative?

#### 1)Â  Using Point of View

Kho asked Lily,” How many handbags do you have Lily?”

Lily said, ” 25″

Kho said, ” Wow! and How many of them are black in color?”

Lily said, “10”

“You have a lot of black bags. What other colors do you have?”, Kho said.

Lily happily said, ” Yes, black is my favorite color. I have 5 red bags. 8 blue bags, and 2 pink bags.”

” Wow! Those are a lot of bags. How can you divide these 25 bags between your 5 friends evenly?”, Kho asked.

“I don’t want to give away my bags.”, Lily said.

“No, hypothetically. Tell me.”, Kho said.

“Okay! I will give 5 to Sam, 5 to Hero, 5 to Sussane, 5 to Mindy, and 5 to you.”, Lily said.

Kho surprisingly said, “Really! You would give me as well!”

“Of course! I can be my real self in front of you. Everyone else thinks I am perfect with no flaws. But, you know my flaws and you are ready to help me fix them.”, Lily said.

Their conversation was interrupted by Kho’s mother. She had bought some snacks and a delicious chocolate shake for the girls. This was the day their strong friendship began.

In this story, the point of view of Lily and Kho plays an important role in making the listener understand the story better. The two different points of views also make the story more interesting. It gives the listener a new perspective on the same old thing.

#### 2) A simple story

Somi lived with her 2 sisters and life was simple for her as she was the youngest. Her sisters were responsible for taking care of her. She could practically get away with anything. The 2 elder sisters planned to play a little prank on Somi. They bought 10 of her favorite fruit mango. They gave her 2 and kept 4 each for themselves making it a square 10. She didn’t know the concept of greater than and less than so she didn’t understand what her elder sisters were doing. All she knew was she ate her fruits a lot faster than they did and she was slow at eating fruits on the top of it. A few days passed and she continuously got fooled by her sisters. One day when she helped her mother clean her closet, as a reward the mother gave her 4 coins out of 7 and told her how she has kept only 3 with herself. Since she worked really well, she gets a greater share i.e., 4 out of 7. She asked more questions regarding counting and realized she was getting fooled by her sisters. On top of it, she was helping them do work since they were giving her a larger share. She knew she wanted revenge from them. The next time when they did the same. She very innocently walked towards the eldest sister and said, “I was very mean to you. You have been giving me the larger share all this while, from now on I will take your smaller share and you take mine.” She went away with 4 mangoes and ate them in peace.

This story is simple yet able to complete its aim properly. You learn what needed to be learned and the story remains simple, with limited information, and easy to understand.

1) The simpler, the better: Complicated stories arenâ€™t necessarily better. If your audience is young, simple is obvious. However, even older audiences can be profoundly impacted when you take a complex idea and reduce it to a nugget that can be remembered.

2) Maintaining eye contact: Eye contact is one of the most important non-verbal ways to connect with other people. It not only helps keep a studentâ€™s attention, but it also conveys a sense of confidence and truthfulness.

3) Move around: Movement can be used in multiple ways. As the storyteller, you can paint pictures with your body- using your hands, feet, legs, and head. Similarly, you can ask the studentâ€™s to perform movements during certain parts of the story. This will help activate their memory and keep their attention focused on what you are communicating.

4) Using dramatic pauses: It is known that people talk faster than what the brain is able to process and understand. So, if you pause at important places in the story, it gives a chance to the child to process that information well and retain it.

5) Change in voice: In storytelling, since you do not have a visual aid to help you create characteristics of a character, a voice is the most important characteristic that needs to be given importance. It helps make characters more memorable when you give them personalities.

6) Know the ending before you begin: A good storyteller is someone who knows what she or he is trying to achieve from the story. Good storytellers when they begin to formulate their story, start at the end and work backward. This helps them put only necessary and important information in the story and eliminates extra, irrelevant information which only makes the story complicated.

7) Make your story trustworthy: It is not right on the part of the storyteller if there are coincidences in the story that works in favor of the protagonist. Don’t provide coincidences that magically solve all the problems. According to Paxar, aÂ well-known storytelling production company, coincidences can be used to get your protagonist into trouble, but should NEVER be used to get them out of trouble.

I hope you have a great time sharing creative, exciting, stories with your kids that make them learn at the same time Please share your favorite math stories with us. Happy Social Learning!