Monday, June 16, 2008

Living Math Monday: One Grain of Rice

...I would have never considered a math notebook before beginning Living Math, but it makes perfect sense....

This is third in a series of posts where I am documenting our adventures in living math. The first post in the series is here.

We read a book called One Grain of Rice by Demi. A selfish raja in India stores up rice each year so that in time of famine there will be enough. When the famine comes, he won’t share and the people are starving.

A girl named Rani comes up with a plan. In return for a kindness, she asks the raja for one grain of rice that day, and a promise that he will double the amount of rice each day for 30 days. The raja agrees to the plan.

From there, we see how this simple plan gives the people their rice back. The selfish, foolish raja becomes wise and fair after being tricked out of all his rice.

Amazon rates this book for grades 1-4. It is easy to see that this is not correct. This book would be useful for all ages, maybe even up to college. The reading level is very easy, perhaps second grade level, but the concept is very deep.

I found a few links with ideas for using this book, especially for more advanced students.

One Grain of Rice Unit: Ideas for a unit study. This is an older website, and some of the image links are broken, but the text is all there. Look under Math Connections and Other Subject Connections to help make a complete unit study.

Excel Spreadsheet Activity This would be great for older students who are learning to use MS Excel.

Illuminations Another lesson plan. It uses some algebra, but I am beginning to see it is not too early to introduce these concepts. I would not expect my gradeschoolers to completely understand, but they can observe and get a taste of what is there.

The Solution Site There are some great plans on here, including an MS Excel sheet that is already set up for your student (great for younger ones who do not know how to use MS Excel.) Students get ½ cup rice to weigh and they learn to count a small amount to approximate how much rice would be in a 1 lb. bag of rice.

More Than One Grain of Rice Here is a PDF with some lesson plans. We printed out one of the pages to use for our notebook pages.

Kids Econ Lesson This is a lesson on economic scarcity using the book. Very simple and to the point. Good for younger students.

What we did: We made a notebook entry to show the grains of rice Rani was given each day. To calculate, we used the simple MS Excel spreadsheet. We measured out an ounce of rice, and counted the grains of rice. This was very hard, but my daughter did it with me helping her. On the spreadsheet, there is a way to figure out how much rice can be carried by a child, a pickup, a semi-trailer, and a train car. We decided to represent the number of pickups that would be needed to carry 1 billion grains of rice by using clip art pictures of a truck. We had to copy it 37 times on our paper.

We also used a picture from The Penny Project to show what one billion would look like in pennies. We pasted our items to notebook sheets.

This is the first entry in our new Mathematics Notebook. I would have never considered a math notebook before beginning Living Math, but it makes perfect sense.

Read my other Living Math posts.


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