Math Curse by Jon Scieszka & Lane Smith
Students will use estimation and measurement skills to make predictions and solve problems involving length.
Lesson Created by:
Jean Johnson, Fort Riley Middle School, Fort Riley, KS
- Math Curse, by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith; ten M & Ms per student (optional), rulers, meter sticks, chart of metric units, measurement conversion charts, pencils, paper
1. Launching the Lesson (engage):
- Read the story.
- I used transparencies of some of the pages so students would also have a visual as well as auditory representation.
2. Developing the Lesson:
- Turn to the Social Studies page of the book about the Mississippi River
- Pose the question: "How many M & Ms would it take to measure the length of the Mississippi River?"
- Have students work in groups to solve this problem. Make sure students have working knowledge of and/or resources about metric prefixes.
- Give each student ten M & Ms as a visual manipulative (optional).
- Have students share their strategy and solution with the class. Be sure to emphasize correct metric conversions.
- Discuss the other ways one could measure the Mississippi River.
- Have the students figure out how many one-pound bags of M & Ms it would take to measure the length of the Mississippi River.
- Once the students have discovered how many bags it would take, have them calculate how much it would cost to purchase those bags.
- Several students suggested that we calculate how many calories there would be in that many M & Ms, or how much weight you would gain if you ate all the M & Ms that it took to measure the Mississippi River. Personally, I didn’t want to go there...
- The actual diameter of an M & M is approximately 1.3 cm. For practical purposes, we rounded to 1 cm. I found that there are approximately 40 M & Ms in the 1/4 cup serving size that is listed on the one-pound package. There are 11 servings in each one-pound bag. The packages I purchased were on sale for 2 for $5. (More chances to discuss per unit rates.)