## Monday, August 19, 2013

### Monday Math Literature Volume 6

Are you new to my Monday Math Literature posts?  Click here to start at the beginning!

This week, I want to talk about the math literature book

#### One Grain Of Rice

This story has been around for 15 or so years and I still can't get enough of it.  It addresses the mathematical idea of doubling or the power of 2 function.  I have used it in grades 3 through 6 and sometimes read it multiple times to one class over a span of a few years.  It is a folktale and it has social messages as well as being very strong on the mathematics.  It is a great way to get intermediate kids EXCITED about math.

I often use this book the first week of school or on the day before a vacation or another wiggly time.  I pose a problem such as this:

In fourth grade (or whatever grade the kid is in), I think kids should have 40 minutes of homework per night.  A student came up with a different idea.  He thinks there should be one second of homework the first day of school, 2 seconds the second day, 4 seconds the third day and 8 seconds the fourth day.  The amount of homework doubles each day.  This class can choose between my idea and this students' idea.  Work with a partner to figure out which way would be better for you.

Kids often use a table to track the results of this problem and within 15-20 minutes partners come to the realization that doubling quickly catches up with and surpasses doing 40 minutes of homework each night.

I have 2 pairs gets together and talk about what they notice and then read this story as a culmination of the activity.  The story serves to show a visual image of what doubling does as well as show some numbers that help kids "check" their own work.  There is even a table at the back that shows the results of 30 doublings.

With third graders (and occasionally second) I use this book in a slightly different way.  I often combine it with reading and writing large numbers.  They still enjoy the story very much but I focus on how to say and write the numbers represented in the story.

Stay tuned next week for another Math Literature Monday!