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 Back to Math Fun (Volume 3) Lesson Plan

"Weighing the Elephant"

Subjects

• Arts & Humanities
--Literature
• Mathematics
--Applied Math
--Measurement
--Process Skills
• Science
--Process Skills

• K-2
• 3-5
• 6-8
• 9-12

Brief Description

Students solve a math problem presented in a Chinese folktale.

Objectives

Students will

• use critical thinking skills.
• work as a team to find a solution to a problem.

Keywords

literature, math and literature, folktale, folk tale, China, Chinese, elephant, problem, critical thinking, cooperative learning, measurement, weight

Materials Needed

Lesson Plan

In this lesson, students work in small groups to solve a problem in the Chinese folktale, "Weighing the Elephant," by Ting-Xing Ye.

Introduce students to the story before reading it aloud. Have students identify China on a world map. Then begin reading the story. The story tells about a large elephant, "the largest and most extraordinary creature anyone in the land had ever seen." The Emperor had no idea how much the elephant weighed. Because no scale in all of China was large enough to weigh the elephant, learning its weight required a creative solution. Read to the point in the story where the Emperor's 8-year-old son is about to share his solution.

Arrange students into small groups and challenge them to work as a team to find a solution to the problem of how to determine how much the elephant weighs. Give students 15-20 minutes to consider the possibilities and then invite each team to share its solution with the class. Accept all well reasoned responses. You might even have students choose which solution they think is the best one.

Finally, finish reading Weighing the Elephant to learn the young boy's solution.

Assessment

Which students made the most correct predictions? You might give a small reward to the five students with the most correct predictions.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

LANGUAGE ARTS: English
NL-ENG.K-12.3 Evaluation Strategies
NL-ENG.K-12.4 Communication Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.6 Applying Knowledge
NL-ENG.K-12.9 Multicultural Understanding
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

MATHEMATICS: Measurement
NM-MEA.PK-2.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement
NM-MEA.3-5.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement
NM-MEA.6-8.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement
NM-MEA.9-12.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement

MATHEMATICS: Problem Solving
NM-PROB.PK-12.2 Solve Problems That Arise in Mathematics and in Other Contexts
NM-PROB.PK-12.3 Apply and Adapt a Variety of Appropriate Strategies to Solve Problems
NM-PROB.PK-12.4 Monitor and Reflect on the Process of Mathematical Problem Solving

MATHEMATICS: Communications