How did it go?
We had 4 kids this week, and also an observer who has started his own math circle for his daughter. He was interested in the mechanics of running a circle, and how to keep all the kids involved. This is one of the most popular activities with the kids, so it was quite easy to keep them all involved.
In the story, you are a babysitter for your 4.5 year old cousin, Stevie. Stevie finds your chemistry set, and makes a batch of growing green slime. What should you do?
Here’s the map we built while we read the book.
The kids all loved the story. It’s a Choose Your Own Adventure: Young Readers book, so it was just scary enough to be interesting, but nothing really bad happens. We first read through to one ending, without making a map. As soon as we reached an ending, a couple kids started asking if we could read the whole book. I said we would, and that we should make a map so we make sure we don’t miss anything.
I started by mapping out our whole initial path. We named the ending (“Goo outside”), and then I asked how we could find new parts of the book. We decided to make a different initial decision (don’t check on Stevie), and got to a new ending.
Eventually we reached the choice about whether to get a ladder or not. If we didn’t get a ladder we should go to page 6. One of the kids immediately remembered that we had already turned to page 6. 6 does not appear on our tree, so we traced back our initial path, and found that we got to page 6 if we decided to pour the goo down the sink. So we drew a line from “ladder?” to the next choice after page 6.
There were many interesting discussions during the book…one of the best was about what you should do if your little brother or sister tries to drink a bowl of green goo. The suggestions ranged from “Kick the bowl out of his hands”, to “Grab the bowl, put your brother on a very high shelf, and tell him he will be dead if he drinks it.”
The kids were all interested in naming the different endings, and showing me where there were new choices. One kid was concerned that we might miss some pages, so at the very end we went page-by-page through the book to verify that we had seen them all. The kids remembered every page, so they were convinced.
To wrap up, I asked how many different endings were there in the book? Most of the kids immediately started counting the boxes, and figured out there were 7 choices. We also found there were 14 branches on our tree.