5000580327 d811edc349 o

Image licensed under CC BY 2.0


"Alice in Wonderland’s" Commentary on Math

Lewis Carroll’s 1865 fantasy novel, "Alice in Wonderland" is a beloved children’s book. Hidden in the text is a commentary on mathematics. Charles Dodgson, whose pen name was Lewis Carroll, originally invented the story as an entertainment for the young daughters of friends. When he put the story on paper for publication, it became, in part, a satire of developments in mathematics that were current at the time. Dodgson was himself a serious mathematician who lectured at Christ Church College, Oxford, England. According to Devlin, Dodgson took issue with the increasingly abstract nature of mathematics, and he used this book to comment on it. Listen to the story to learn more about the mathematical allusions in this famous work.

Language Challenge

Tweet Share on Facebook

Want to Listen?

TEACHERS: Access our entire library of lessons and current events!

With a free teacher account, you get:
  • Our lesson collections for Social Studies, ELA, and Science
  • Authentic audio news stories curated for the classroom
  • Teaching resources to check for understanding
  • And new Current Events every school day
Teachers Join Free

Already a Member? Login Now

Story Length: 4:39

Listen to the Story:

Listening Comprehension Questions

  • In what ways did Andrew Carnegie’s libraries serve their communities?
  • How did Carnegie benefit from a library when he was growing up?
  • Which personality traits helped propel Carnegie from poverty to riches? Bring specific details from the story to support your ideas.
  • According to Carnegie, what should rich people do with their money and why? Why was Carnegie known as both generous and “brutal”?

Discussion Themes

  • In your opinion, what should really rich people do with their fortunes?
  • What does it take for a person to rise from “rags to riches”?

Socrative users can import these questions using the following code: SOC-1234

Listening Organizers

  • Fact, Question, Response

  • Language Identification Organizer

  • Deeper Meaning Chart