First Grade Math: Choose Your Salary

When the first grade math students came to class today, I told them that I was going to hire them for a special kind of job lasting 7 weeks.  The only thing the job requires is that you calculate your salary.  What a deal!  Even better, the kids get to choose their own salary from two options.

Option 1: You get $100 the first day, $200 the second day, $300 the third day, and so on.  Each day you are paid $100 more than the day before.


Option 2:  You get 1 cent the first day, 2 cents the second day, 4 cents the third day, and so on.  Each day you are paid double what you were paid the day before.

The kids selected an option and circled it on their worksheet.  All but two students chose Option 1 (lest you think those two had some special insight, they both claimed to have selected Option 2 “because it’s easier.”).

I ALLOWED THE STUDENTS TO USE CALCULATORS FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT.  PLEASE let them use calculators at home!  Please force them to use a calculator if necessary!  For their sake, your sake, and mine.

Using our calculators, we started figuring out the salaries.  We worked out the daily pay for week one for both Options, and then calculated the weekly total for both Options ($2,800 for Option 1; $1.27 for Option 2.  The kids who picked Option 1 were feeling pretty smug).

I let the kids loose to work on their own.  Most kids stuck with calculating daily pay and weekly totals for Option 1.  A handful worked on daily pay and weekly totals for Option 2.

I told the students in class that once they get to about week 5 on Option 2, they may start to feel like banging their head against the table.  THIS IS THE SIGN THAT IT’S TIME TO STOP.  Please don’t force your child to finish if the numbers are unwieldy and your child is not enjoying the work.  By week 5 or so of Option 2, they get the point — Option 2 yields waaaaaaay more money than Option 1.

I just want them to get a general understanding of how quickly doubling yields huge numbers.  It doesn’t seem possible that starting with one cent would be the more lucrative option, but it sure is.  With Option 1, the grand total is $122,500.  With Option 2, a student would be making more than that per day by Wednesday of Week 4. On Sunday of Week 5, a student would be earning $171,798,656.00 per day.

The students were disappointed to learn that I would not actually be paying them this money.  I only wish I could!

Kindergarten Math: Target Addition and Pizza Fractions

In kindergarten math this week, we played a game called Target Addition.  At the start of the game, the two players agree on a target number between 25 and 55.  They then take turns covering numbers on a board like this:FullSizeRender (21)

The students keep a running total of the numbers they have covered.  The object of the game is to reach the target number exactly on your turn.  If you go over, you are out.

The kids had to play a few times before they really started developing a strategy.  Being able to look a few steps ahead and consider what your opponent might do depending on your choice is key.

I sent home a Target Addition board so you could play at home.  It is not homework and does not need to be returned.

We also talked a little about fractions.  The students have a one-page worksheet about pizza fractions to do for homework. We reviewed it in class, so they should know what to do.

Rooms 3, 4, and 5 were on a field trip at the zoo, so if your child is in one of those rooms and claims to have never seen the Target Addition or homework page before, s/he is telling the truth!  I sent the work home, though, just so they would know what they missed.

Kindergarten Reading: Similes and Metaphors

This week in kindergarten reading, we played the Metaphor Game.  Each student received two slips of paper and wrote a noun on each slip.  We then picked two slips randomly and tried to find things the two nouns had in common.  Sometimes this was easier than others (can you find similarities between Luke Skywalker and an apple?  Or Darth Vader and bubblegum?  [and do I have to tell you that it was May the fourth the day that we did this activity?]).  Once we listed some similarities, we tried to create similes using the two nouns.  The kids came up with some great ones, including:

The inside of the pineapple was as squishy as a blobfish.

Once Darth Vader is after you, he sticks to you like bubblegum.

Luke Skywalker is as healthy as an apple (for the galaxy).

For homework this week, the kids have a double-sided worksheet. The front side is classifying sentences as similes or metaphors.  The back side is creating ironic similes.  We practiced these in class, so the kids should be familiar with what to do.