Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Reading in Math - Book 3

Here is another book I love to read to my students in math class.

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 “One Grain of Rice” by Demi.

The theme of this particular book is best used when teaching about doubling (lower grades) or exponents (higher grades).

Quick Summary – Rani convinces the king to give her 1 grain of rice, and double it every day for 30 days.

            Before reading the story, I pose the following question to the students, “Would you rather receive $1 000 000 today, or receive one penny today and double it every day for 30 days?” I tell the students they only have 10 seconds to decide, and they need to write down their answer and explain why. I usually ask for a show of hands, to see who chose what amount.
         As I begin reading the story, the students don’t make a connection between the question and the story until Rani is presented with a single grain of rice. This is where I stop reading. I then ask them to make some predictions; how many grains of rice do they think Rani will receive on the 30th day and how many grains of rice will Rani have received altogether over the whole 30 days? Again, don’t give them too much time, because I guarantee you some students are going to try and do the math in their heads to figure it out! I ask a few students for their predictions, and they usually vary by quite a lot.
            Before I continue reading, I get my students to draw a 5 x 6 chart and label each box Day 1 – Day 30. I tell them to fill in the chart as I read. Not all the days are mentioned in the story, so I tell them not to worry and we will go back and fill them all in later. Some students will insist on filling it in on their own, but it doesn't take long for them to notice that the numbers get quite big, really fast!

            Once the story is finished there is a chart in the back to help you fill in the missing days. Students are always amazed with how big the number is on the 30th day, but I remind them that we still need to figure out how many grains of rice Rani received in total, over the whole month.
I have them record, under their predictions, the actual amounts. Then ask them if they would change their initial choice of taking the $1 000 000, or the penny doubled, every day for 30 days. Obviously, they will take the penny doubled every day for 30 days, as it is equivalent to $10 737 418.23! The students who chose the penny would get over 10 million, that’s over 10 times more money!
I then tell them to go home and see if they can convince their parents to pay them their allowance that way!

            Interested in incorporating more reading in your math class?  Check out my “Math Stories” Collection.

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