Spoons Full of Beads (Age 8)

The Activities

  1. Topic: Estimation. Book: Betcha by Murphy. In this book two friends estimate the number of various objects, e.g. cars on a block, people on a bus. It ends with guessing the number of jelly beans in a large jar.
  2. Topic: Estimation. Guess how many beads will fit on each of three different spoon sizes. First the kids guessed by just looking at the spoon. Then we piled on the beads, and I let them make a second guess based on the beads on the spoon. Then we counted to see how many there really were.
  3. Topic: Building. Next I gave each kid the small size of spoon and challenged them to fit as many beads on the spoon as they could.
  4. Topic: Charts. Each kid tracked a different attribute of a Pokemon: color, height, hit points, number of abilities. We flipped over 10 random Pokemon cards and each kid updated their chart. Then we looked at our charts and predicted how the chart would change when we add in the next 10 Pokemon cards.

How did it go?

We had four kids this week, and it was a rowdy but good-natured circle. Several kids got off topic at various points but they generally came back on track after some warnings from me. This morning was my daughter’s 8th birthday party, and she had come home completely exhausted and grumpy. I was quite worried she would want to sit out circle again, but she actually did ok, though she was gigglier than usual.


The kids all enjoyed the book, and played along making their own guesses. The spoon activity was also fun. It was a bit tough to get kids to actually make their guesses, but once they were written down, everyone enjoyed helping to put the beads on the spoon and counting the beads to see who was closest.

We started with the medium sized spoon, and they realized the smaller one would hold fewer, and the bigger one more. Their second guesses (after seeing the beads on the spoon) were generally more accurate than the guess based just on the spoon.

Piling Beads on Spoons

The kids were not satisfied that I had really gotten the maximum number of beads on each spoon, so I gave them a chance to do better. I gave each kid a small-sized spoon and we sat on the floor piling beads on the spoon.  Initially we had gotten 30 beads on the spoon. I managed to get 39 on during this activity, which is one more than the 38 that had fit on the medium sized spoon. Two other kids got 34 and 36 beads. At first my daughter was messing around and giggling but eventually she got quite serious and managed to get 41 beads on her spoon, beating me by two.  The last kid never really tried and mostly threw beads around the room or put them in pockets.IMG_20160731_170549

Pokemon Charts

4 of the 5 kids are obsessed with Pokemon Go, so last week David promised them a Pokemon activity. We thought making charts of various Pokemon attributes would fit into this lesson because we could predict the attribute distribution after some Pokemon to the chart. However, this turned mainly into a looking at Pokemon and making tally marks activity. Not sure how much we really learned here, but the kids enjoyed it.  Two kids did notice that their attributes were closely related: nearly every pokemon with 40 or fewer hit points is also shorter than two feet.  We also noticed that nearly every Pokemon card has two attacks. A few have one attack, and none seem to have three or more attacks.IMG_20160731_173211


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