Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame


Overview: The story Wind in the Willows shows how proportionality is used in literature and art. Mr. Toad, one of the main characters, is a toad that is approximately 20 - 30 inches tall. Mr. Toad dresses in all the latest fashions and has all the modern conveniences in proportion to his size. For example, his dishes, clothes, and watch all are proportional to Mr. Toad. Mr. Toad must interact with humans and use things proportional to humans. The car that he drives and the horse and wagon that he uses are proportional to humans, making Mr. Toad look small in comparison.

This is a cumulative activity and may be done in the math classroom or as an integrated unit with language arts classes. Prior math activities include using ratios, enlarging and shrinking rectangles, calculating unit rates, finding proportions, and graphing the proportion.



Students will compare the two situations - one, Mr. Toad and objects proportional to him and, two, Mr. Toad and objects proportional to humans. Students will then measure a stuffed Mr. Toad and make common objects proportional to Mr. Toad’s height.



  • 1 (B) select and use appropriate forms of rational numbers to solve real-life problems including those involving proportional relationships

  • 9 (B) use proportional relationships in similar shapes to find missing measurements.
Online Resources:

  • Wind in the Willows children’s picture book or film
  • Stuffed Mr. Toad (any stuffed frog will do)
  • Measuring tapes
  • Poster board or cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Markers
  • Glue
Time: 2 weeks


  1. Each student creates a project booklet using construction paper, blank paper, and handout for notes for book or film.

  2. Read Wind in the Willows or watch part of film (watch the rest of the film at the end of the activity). Students take notes in project booklet - they look for examples of when objects are proportional to Mr. Toad or proportional to humans.

  3. Students draw a rough sketch of Mr. Toad in project booklet.

  4. Students measure Mr. Toad and label measurements on rough sketch of Mr. Toad.

  5. Students select a common object - chair, desk, ladder, table, etc., and draw a rough sketch in project booklet.

  6. Students measure object and label measurements on rough sketch.

  7. Students create a proportion by comparing their own heights (choose one person's height in group) to Mr. Toad’s height (in project booklet).

  8. Calculations for all necessary measurements are based on the proportion in step number 7.

  9. Students use measurements to build posterboard objects (everyday items) proportional to Mr. Toad.
  1. Student self-assessment

  2. Rubric for students' notes on project - sketch, measurements, and calculations

  3. Rubric for objects proportional to Mr. Toad


Return to Table of Contents
Return to Discover Wind in the Willows
Examples of Student Projects
Example Rubric