Checkers, chessboards and rice

Mathematics is like checkers in being suitable for the young, not too difficult, amusing, and without peril to the state.” ~Plato

Yesterday we talked about large numbers. Continuing along that same vein today I offer The King’s Chessboard and One Grain of Rice, two takes on the classic doubling problem. Students will be amazed at how quickly simple grains of rice can accumulate. At the same rate as the wise man accumulates rice in the story can your students determine how long it would take before he had one million grains of rice?

Teaching Tip
If your students aren’t quite ready to tackle exponential growth you may want to begin with the concept of doubling. A good place to begin is with this investigation Dr. Jennifer M. Suh developed around the book Two of Everything by Lily Toy Hong. Suh’s article was published in the November 2007 issue of Teaching Children Mathematics. offers a free template to be used with Two of Everything.

Here is a lesson plan using The King’s Chessboard.

This entry was posted in Algebraic Thinking, exponential growth, Number Sense, Patterns. Bookmark the permalink.

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