One Grain of Rice Math Activity

One Grain of Rice Math Lesson | Our Journey Westward

(This post contains affiliate links and links to my business website, Shining Dawn Books.)

The Book

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.

One Grain Of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale


The Math Activity

*I found the math activities and GREAT worksheets at the NCTM Illuminations site.  There are many super activity ideas there, so hang around a while.

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?

Want More?

Check out a similar math lesson on doubling using The King’s Chessboard.

Learn how to incorporate literature into math lessons and LOTS more in my living math how-to book, Loving Living Math.


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