## The Activities

**Topic: Graphs.**Book: The Great Graph Contest by Leedy. In this book, a frog and a salamander compete to see who makes the best graphs. They make Venn Diagrams, Bar Graphs, Pie Charts, and others, covering a variety of subjects. Leedy is a great author, and the kids always love her book. This is no exception.**Topic: Voting.**Each year around the time of my birthday, I have the kids plan my pretend birthday party. This is the fourth year in a row we have done this activity (twice with the older circle, twice with the younger). This time, I planned to have each kid own one question, and have them collect votes. Then I wanted to make a fancy graph out of each, similar to the graphs in the The Great Graph Contest.**Topic: Adding and Subtracting, Word Problems.**The kids used Base Ten Blocks to solve problems about my age (36).- How old will I be in 36 more years?
- How many years older am I than you?
- How much is my age plus yours?

**Topic: Advanced Birthday Math.**My son is extremely good at calculation, so I knew he would cause problems during birthday math. I gave him a much harder problem to work on separately: How old will I be in the year 3022?

## How did it go?

We had four kids this week. The circle was a bit scattered, partly due to me being less organized and partly due to the advanced birthday math not working out.

#### Happy Birthday to Me!

The kids all enjoyed coming up the questions for my party. We came up with:

- Where should the party be? Pump It Up, Park, Restaurant, Arcade.
- What treat should we have? Crackers, Oreos, Cupcackes, Tacos.
- What should be in the gift bag? Bouncy ball, Legos, Light Saber, Balloon.
- What drink should I server? Water, Apple Juice, Pink Lemonade, Grape Juice

Each kid owned one sheet for voting. Everyone voted on each other’s sheets. The kids made tally marks to record the votes. Two kids remembered that you can cross the fifth tally mark. We had an interesting discussion about **why** you should cross the fifth one. Some kids said it was because they had seen parents do it that way. I made an example on paper of 15 tallymarks, vs 3 groups of 5 tallymarks. Then one girl said that crossing the fifth meant you could count by fives. We then tried counting the two rows of marks, and found that counting by 5s was much faster.

I had planned to have the kids make graphs out of the votes, but they were getting a bit distracted by the end, and I hadn’t planned it out that well, so I decided to move on to birthday math instead.

#### Birthday Math

First I gave my son his problem (How old will I be in the year 3022?), then started working with the other three. First I asked each kid to count out 36 Base Ten Blocks. All three of them decided to use 10 bars, so they picked out 3 10-bars and 6 units.

Next I asked how old I would be in 36 more years? The kids had lots of silly guesses, like 1000 years old, but finally one girl suggested we should start at 36 and count up 36 more. I suggested counting out 36 more Base Ten Blocks, and then counting them to see how many there were in total. The three kids eventually did this, though there was some messing around, and also some mistakes in counting (I got answers of 71, 72, and 73).

Meanwhile, my son had decided the advanced problem was too hard. He was trying to subtract 3022 – 2016 in his head, and had come up with 1008, which I said was close but not correct. This frustrated him, so he crumpled up the paper and threw his pencil. He then rejoined us at the table for a bit until he got too wild and had to sit on the couch for the rest of circle.

Next we each collected 36 blocks again. I asked, how old was I when each of you was born? No one knew how to figure this out. Some people said my age was negative, some people said I was 1000. I suggested we could go back in time by taking away one block at a time. They enjoyed watching me take one block away saying: Now you’re 4, now 3, now 2, now 1, now 0. Then we counted how many blocks were left and found I was 31 years old when this student was born.

My final question what is your age plus my age? By this time, the kids were quite restless, some were saying it was too boring. But we persevered and figured it out, and we even added all 4 of our ages together. Everyone thought it was funny to think about being 53 years old (the sum of our ages).