Saturday, May 8, 2010

in case of drought

It was a "lite" school week for us due to illness and the general chaos of J's chorus concerts and rehearsals. I decided to work with just one story, an Enki Education Grade 2 Math story called "In Case of Drought". The kids and I absolutely fell in love with this story, and working through it was so much fun, it's all of our favorite math work to date! (And one of my favorite Enki stories ever, with a delightful balance of math, science and language arts -- it's sort of the epitome of Enki!)

As usual, I'm going to explain in detail how we worked with this story. But I'm going to start with a disclaimer, which I suppose really ought to go at the top of every post (but I don't do that, because to me it's obvious....however, I've been getting some flak, so here you go....). I post about how MY FAMILY uses the Enki materials. I am making no claim whatsoever (unless I specifically say so) about Enki Education's intentions for the use of the materials, or how other families might use the same stories and materials. Just sayin'....all I'm doing is sharing what I do. Nothing more.

ANYWAY! We read the story on one day, and after it was allowed to sleep (for 2 days as it turned out, because of a visit to the Pediatrician), we recalled the story and drew our story pictures. Since I wanted to work with the sequence of the story, we did led drawings. I started out dividing the page into 4 quarters with a blue block crayon, and then proceeded as follows, with the kids following along on their own page (in fact, that's J's drawing above). In the lower left quarter, I drew a hillside with some ice at the top of the hill, then drew the sun in the upper right corner, which caused the melting of the water sprites, who danced down the hill one by one. They collected at the bottom of the hill in the lower right quarter, and the earth began to drink up the drops, one by one. Then the air fairies descended from the sky in the upper right quarter to scoop up the water sprites, carrying them back up into the air with them. Then I drew the thunder king in the upper left quarter, along with a couple of fire lords, whose strikes released the water sprites in groups. The water sprites tumbled back to the earth in groups. (whee!)

The following day, I pulled our drawings back out, and wrote in some simple equations alongside my melting water sprites in the lower left quarter (see my picture, at the bottom of this post). I wrote "1+1=2, 2+1=3, 3+1=4" and so on until I finished with "5+1=6". (I had 6 water sprites sliding down the hill.) The kids followed suit on their own drawings with equations representing the number of water sprites they had drawn. (I didn't give any suggestion as to numbers when we did our drawings, so we all had different amounts.)

Then I moved over to the lower right quarter, and next to my sprites getting absorbed by the earth, I wrote "6-1=5, 5-1=4, 4-1=3" and so on. The boys did the same with theirs.

Then I moved up to the upper right quarter. I said "I have 4 air fairies" and I wrote "4" in that quarter, "and they each scoop up 4 water sprites at a time" and finished my equation to make it "4 x 4 =16". The boys followed suit, J claiming that his 3 fairies were carrying 5 sprites each, so he wrote down "3 x 5 = 15". Zoo Boy, however, told me that he had 4 fairies, but two of his fairies were carrying 6, one was carrying 5, and one was carrying 4. I told him he could either add a sprite or two to his fairies who had less than 6, or he could use more than one equation to describe his picture. He chose the latter option, writing "2 x 6 = 12," "1 x 5 = 5" and "1 x 4 = 4". (His drawings are next if you want to see.)

Finally, I moved over the upper left quarter and said "The fire lords released 12 of the water sprites," and wrote "12". Then I said "The sprites fell back to earth in groups of 4, so that meant there were 3 groups of water sprites," and finished by equation to read "12 divided by 4 = 3". When J started on his drawing, he discovered that he didn't have even groups of sprites, so he added one to make it evenly divisible. He also asked if we were counting groups or the number in each group to divide into the entire number, and I showed him that he could do it either way by writing the other equation "12 divided by 3 = 4" on my drawing. Zoo Boy pointed out that his groups were all of 3 sprites, except for one group that was of 4. I told him he could either add a sprite to each group, or cross out the 4th from the different group. He chose to add and then did his equation.

Here's Zoo Boy's original story drawing. One interesting note while we were drawing these, when we got to drawing the water sprites that the fire lords released, J suddenly perked up and said "Oh cool, so this is the water cycle!" I found it very interesting that Mr. Science actually saw the math in the story when it was originally told, but it wasn't until we were doing the artistic work with it that he recognized the water cycle as well. Zoo Boy, on the other hand, knew it was about the water cycle all along, but didn't recognize the math until we were writing out our equations. In the middle of his subtraction he suddenly exclaimed, "Oh! So this is adding," (pointing to the water sprites on the hill), "this is subtracting," (pointing to the work he was doing), "this is multiplying" (pointing to the air fairies in the upper right), "and this is dividing" (pointing to the fire lords and falling sprites). I smiled and nodded, and he whispered to himself, "That's SO cool!"

I agree, TOTALLY cool!

Zoo Boy's drawing with equations.

I discovered one other interesting thing while doing this work -- Zoo Boy needs a lot more work on writing numbers. I'll be adding them into his handwriting practice work this week.

Here's my finished drawing with equations. I've hung it with other "key" concept artwork on the cork boards that line our hallway. The boys' work will get bound into their Good Books at the end of the year along with the rest of their work, but my drawing will stay posted throughout the summer as we work with the practice work sheets that go along with this story.

1 comment:

Tanya said...

I have just started learning about "light" school weeks and how neccesary they are. I would jomp at the bit when I was not getting my schedule done, until I realised that what was happening around us was life, and that school would just have to wait . You often inspire me !!