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Have you ever read One Grain Of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale by Demi? Not only is it great literature, there is a fantastic moral to the story – and a mathematical component that makes for a fun living math lesson! The story is set in India where a raja decides to store his people’s rice so they will have plenty in time of famine. When famine arrives, the raja becomes selfish and holds the rice for himself – leaving his people to starve. A clever young girl devises a plan that starts with only one grain of rice which will double daily – quickly growing into a mountain of rice that easily feeds the people. Through her wisdom, the raja is humbled and promises to live a fair life once again.
The Math Activity
After reading the story, Mahayla (5th grade) had to chart the number of grains of rice the raja gave away each day and in total. Since the numbers became huge, I let her use a calculator.
Next, she had to determine how many cups of rice were given away on a few of the days, as well as the weight of the rice and number of people it would feed. I loved this extension!
Fun math, a great book with a moral, real-world type stuff, and lots of computation! Who could ask for more in a math activity?
Check out a similar math lesson on doubling using The King’s Chessboard.