A (Thankfully) Brief Jaunt into the Land of Mathematics

25 02 2012

Let’s get something straight right now.  I am not a math teacher.  I teach science, social studies, and writing.  I’ve done this for so many years now that getting my brain geared to teach math requires a fair amount of energy.  So when I was asked to fill in for my partner teacher (who inexplicably LOVES math and does a fantastic job teaching it), panic set in and I reached into the back of my brain and pulled out a story that would hopefully help me teach the customary units of capacity, namely gallons, quarts, pints and cups.  Of course, it didn’t hurt that my partner teacher had left me well-stocked with a visual image upon which to base my mania.  Here, then, is my attempt.

The Four Little Owlets and a Great Big Tree

      Once upon a time in the land of Matemáticas, there was a great big tree with a huge hole in the middle and a stick poking out of the hole.

Draw a tree with a wide trunk and a huge letter G in the middle (gallon).

Inside the hole lived four of the cutest little owlets you have ever seen.  They were exactly alike, each having two big eyes.

Draw 4 circles as big as possible inside the G, with 2 large circles inside each.

Even their little tails were the same, all pointing down and to the right.  Their eyes shone in the moonlight as they searched for their Mama Owl.

Add 2 Cs inside the circles, and a tail on the right-hand side.

But Mama Owl was nowhere to be seen, so tears ran down their faces from each little eye, all, of course, from the same left corners.

Add straight lines on the left side of each "eye" to form the letter P (for pint, of course).

“Big Tree, Big Tree,” they cried, “Tell us about our Mama!”

“Your Mama?” the big tree replied, “Ah, yes, your Mama is quite a GAL.”  And as he said this, the big hole seemed to shake just the slightest bit.

“Big Tree, Big Tree, “ they cried, “What are our names?”

“Well,” said the big tree. “You are FOUR of the cutest little owlets I’ve ever seen.  That’s why you are each named QT (cutie).”

“Big Tree, Big Tree,” they cried again, “Why do our eyes shine so?”

“Why, your eyes shine like the C (sea) to help you C (see),” said the great big tree.  “Each one of your eyes  can C 2 (see too) well to ever be afraid of the dark.”

“But our eyes,” said the owlets, “our eyes are so big and round with these ugly tear stains coming down from them.”

“Oh, no,” Big Tree comforted them, “Your eyes are as QT as 2 Ps in a pod.”

“Oh, thank you,” said the owlets, much comforted by the wise tree’s kind words.   “But what is your name?”

“I thought you had guessed by now,”  the big tree chuckled, “I am Capaci-Tree.”

Add the word Capaci-Tree to the top and act dumbfounded when the kids start making connections between the story and the relationships of gallon/quart/pint/cup.