Search form

How Busy Is Your Class's Tooth Fairy?


Curriculum Center

First graders from around the world will keep track of their missing baby teeth as part of an Internet Tooth Tally Project sponsored by Wilburn Year Round Elementary School in Raleigh, North Carolina. The students will also practice their computation, graphing, and map-reading skills as they participate in the project. Included: A link to the project Web site.

First graders from around the world will find out which class is keeping the Tooth Fairy busiest as they participate in the three-month 2002 Tooth Tally Project beginning February 1.

In this Internet activity, sponsored by Wilburn Year-Round Elementary School in Raleigh, North Carolina, participating classes will keep track of the number of baby teeth students lose between February 1 and April 30, 2002. At the end of each month, the students will exchange data with other classes by e-mail and create graphs to display the data they obtain.

This is the fourth year Wilburn has sponsored the Tooth Tally Project, and some schools have participated every year. Says Lynda Smith, Wilburn's technology specialist, "That says a lot about the project. I think the educators sense that students get a lot out of it. It's easy and it's relevant. The kids have fun, but it's not just fluff."

Nakia White, a first-grade teacher at Wilburn, said this is the second year she plans to have her class participate in the tooth tally. "The kids really got involved last year, making sure their classmates had counted all their missing teeth and charted them," White told Education World.


As of mid-January, 60 classes had registered for the project. International registrants include schools in Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, Lithuania, Israel, Canada, and Japan, Smith said. Six of the eight first-grade classes at Wilburn are also participating.

Participating classes will be divided into groups of eight or ten; each class will exchange information with the other classes in its group. Students can apply computation, graphing, reading, and map-reading skills while collecting data, Smith noted. In fact, the project Web site includes suggestions for mathematics and language arts activities related to the project.

In the past, participating classes have exchanged ideas and anecdotes, in addition to sending data about baby teeth. "This gives kids a chance to see that kids around the world are not so different from them," added Smith.

Last year, one first-grade class brainstormed ideas about the appearance of the tooth fairy, drew a picture based on their collective descriptions, and sent the picture to the other classes in the group.

White said she appreciates the different skills -- including graphing, writing, and using technology -- that the project requires. "We wrote a lot about the graphs last year," she said. "The children really enjoyed listening to me read the e-mails from schools around the world. It gave them the sense that they were not the only first graders around."