05 March, 2010

Seeing Doubles

In honor of World Math Day, which was celebrated this week on Wednesday, this week's literacy activity highlights a wonderful children's book that integrates mathematics into its storyline. Demi's One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale is based upon an Indian folktale and is chock-full of mesmerizing illustrations. What I really like about this book is that the protagonist is a girl, and it helps to engage those females in mathematics!
In the story, Rani doubles one grain of rice, doubled each day for thirty days. You can try it too!
  1. Read the book to your child.
  2. On a clean surface such as a table, begin by placing one grain of rice in front of your child.
  3. Double the grain of rice, by adding 1 more. (1+1=2)
  4. Double the 2 grains of rice, by adding 2 more. (2+2=4)
  5. Double the 4 grains of rice, by adding 4 more. (4+4=8)
  6. If you are doing this activity with an older child (7-10), you can integrate the concept of multiplication by doubling the 8 grains of rice by multiplying 8x2=16. You can also keep doubling by adding the same number such as 8+8-16, 16+16=32, 32+32=64, etc. 
  7. Keep going as long as you want to, but when you stop remind your child that even though you have stopped doubling, the numbers keep going on and on! Mathematically speaking this is referred to as infinity

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