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Counting Ping's Family

Yesterday, the girls were reading "The Story About Ping", by Marjorie Flack and Kurt Wiese, again.  It's such a great book.  I love all of the opportunities for learning in it.  We have discussed geography - the book takes place in China on the Yangtze River.  We have found it on our map.  We discussed that this is the same country that the movie "Mulan" is based in.  There is also reference to the sun rising in the east and setting in the west.  So we've talked about directions.  Which way does the sun set at our house?  Yup.  It sets in the west here, too.    It's fun to show them this with a compass.

That's a lot of ducks!
I love that Ping disobeys because he doesn't want to get spanked.  And how he gets lost from his family because of his disobedience.  There is also a boy who disobeys his parents.  Perhaps we could decide that this is a good thing because Ping lives - but the family will now go without dinner!  (Not okay in my book.)  Don't miss the opportunity to discuss the importance of obeying your parents.

In the end, Ping finds his family, but he must decide whether or not to join them, as he knows he will be spanked for being late!  He decides it is worth it.

But the part of Ping that the girls picked up on yesterday was the numbers.  Ping's family is described several times as consisting of Ping, his mother and his father, two sisters and three brothers and eleven aunts and seven uncles and forty-two cousins.  (Love the large family).

Math-U-See Starter Block Set
The girls wanted to know, "How many ducks does that make in all?"  So I asked Campster to get the Math-U-See blocks I bought for her at the MASSHOPE convention.  These are plastic unit blocks in different sizes and colors.  What you can't see in the picture is that there are two layers, and under what you see are four red "100" blocks.  The girls are loving using them to figure out any math problems they come up with.  I opted this year just to get the blocks.  I hear from many friends that the curriculum is wonderful.  But I have not used it myself.  I showed Campster the blocks at MASSHOPE and she really liked them.

Ping, his mother, and his father.
So we started with a 100 block to place the other blocks on.  Then we added one green block for Ping, followed by a green block each for his mother and father.  Don't miss the opportunity to recognize that we now have three ducks.

Two sisters and three brothers
Eleven Aunts
Then we added his two sisters (using the orange 2 block) and his 3 brothers (using the pink 3 block).  How many ducks do we have now?  Campster told me eight.  When I asked how she knew that without counting, she told me that she saw that it was two less than ten, and she knows that is eight.  (Hmm.  Don't remember teaching her that.  Could it be that she is learning math without being taught?)

Next we added Ping's eleven aunts.  Campster knew that eleven would be a ten and a one.  By making the largest block a ten, it shows place value.   Now we have a total of ten and nine - which is nineteen - or twenty minus one.

Seven uncles = Six plus one
Forty-two cousins
Next the Campster wowed me with her suggestion.  Rather than add a seven block for the seven uncles, she suggested that we do a six and a one and fill in the missing block in the upper right corner.  Now we have two rows of ten and six.

Last we added the forty-two cousins.  Campster grabbed four tens and a two.  Hard to "read" it this way, though.  Let's put all the tens together, and then the ones.

Sixty-eight ducks!!
Now we can count six tens and eight ones.  Sixty-eight ducks!  That's a lot.  (We "only" have 51 quail!)  The girls felt happy with their successful counting of the ducks.  Then we put all the ducks (blocks) back in the box for next time we want to do some math.

Isn't math fun?

Wish you were here!

5 comments:

debhmom3 said...

The Story of Ping is one of our most treasured books. So much to learn in that one. Mine were fascinated with the artwork as well.

MommaofMany said...

What a great way to incorporate MUS blocks into literature! May I share this post with Steve Demme? He likes to feature real-life experience with MUS.

paisley said...

Momma - that would be too cool. Please do.

Deb - yes! The drawings are beautiful. Although my picky children like to argue that the Yangtze River doesn't look so yellow to them. LOL!

Anonymous said...

i really loved being at your house & watching this teaching moment as it happened... i was thoroughly impressed!
<3 kelly

paisley said...

Thanks, Kelly! We loved your being here. You are my witness that I am not making this stuff up!

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