Tuesday, January 25, 2011

One Hungry Cat - Math Activity

The younger children helped me make a batch of cookie bars yesterday, while the older children were off at the library (we've finally turned a corner on the colds!).

While the bars were baking, we passed the time by reading Joanne Rocklin's One Hungry Cat. It's a Level 3 "Hello Math Reader" dealing with division. In the story, a hungry cat, named Tom, bakes a dozen cookies, and invites two friends over to share them with him.

Before they arrive, he divides the cookies, evenly onto plates. The process is complicated, when he eats some of the cookies, and can no longer divide them evenly. He solves the problem by eating all the cookies, and baking a cake instead, and the process starts all over again. Math, not just division, but also time telling, proportions, and counting terms, can be found all through the story.

There are follow up activity suggestions at the back of the book too, using paper cakes, and cookies. But, we had the real thing all ready to go.

I started by putting out six plates, even though the older children were at the library. But, I cut the bars into three, large pieces. We talked about the size of the pieces, being quite large, and whether they could eat that much. Then, we talked about the number of plates. It was clear there were not enough pieces to cover the plates. We needed to double the number.

The children decided we should cut the pieces in half.

That did make six, but then I reminded the children that Mommy, and Daddy might like a cookie, too. They cut the pieces in half again. This time I put the pieces onto the plates (including the two extras I pulled out, for the Man of House, and myself). There were four pieces left in the pan.

I asked them, what they thought we could do to make the pieces come out even. The girls weren't entirely sure, they thought maybe we should eat the whole thing, like the cat in the story, and start over with a new batch of cookies. But, D (age 8) suggested cutting the remaining pieces in half.

Then, we could put one large cookie, and one small cookie on each of the eight plates.

In the end, they settled for eating their small pieces, and saving the rest for later. So, maybe they learned something about restraint, as well as math, from the story.

You can find more fun with math at this week's Math Monday link-up, hosted by Joyful Learner.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Christy Killoran said...

That book sounds great. The bars look good! I love that you posted the thought process of the children. I'm glad to hear the colds are going away.

Debbie said...

This books sounds great! I love how the children wanted to do just as the cat in the book and eat all the cookies and just start over.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

I like this practical lesson. Sometimes I am sad that in our house we always divide by 3 unless guests are coming over or stuffed animals are involved.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Natalie - Yes, but think of all the math you can do reducing recipes, so you don't end up with waste. There are certainly benefits to both large, and small families.

Phyllis said...

I love how you gently guided their discoveries and yet let them come up with their own solutions.

Unknown said...

Oh...chocolate chip cookies...I miss y'all! We (as in Super Dad and I) are cutting back BIG TIME on our sugar...perhaps we will do such a s lesson with a block of cheese... ;0)

Sandra (Sam) said...

Great post! I'll have to look for this book. I love math in the kitchen :D

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Joanna said...

I love your ideas. Learning with real life situations. That's the schooling I appreciate and try to use.

Cindy said...

Yummy math! ;)