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# magic pot problems

## Magic pot problems

Two of Everything

It took me ten years to discover this book, but it was well worth the wait! Ms Hong has retold and illustrated a Chinese folktale. The story recounts what happens when an elderly and impoverished Chinese farmer, Mr. Haktak, discovers a large pot buried in the field he has been digging for years.

Thinking that the pot may be helpful to his wife, Mr. Haktak carts the pot home. As he stumbles along, he drops his purse, containing his last 5 gold coins. To keep from losing it, he tosses it into the pot.

At home, his wife reaches into the pot to get the purse, but out come two purses. Her hairpin falls into the pot and she finds two hairpins in the pot. They quickly figure out that the pot will double things put into it and proceed to make a second winter coat where they had only one. They have a wonderful time doubling all their food. It is Mrs. Haktak who figures out that they can have anything they want. She put the purse into the pot over and over until “the floor was covered with coins.”

Disaster strikes the next day when Mrs. Haktak falls into the pot. Of course, out come two Mrs. Haktaks. This causes a severe problem for Mr. Haktak, until he, too, falls in the pot. With two of each, there is double the fun, and enough of everything for all of them. They built two identical houses, side by side and were careful never to fall in the pot again!

There are math possibilities here. TERC suggests having students write math riddles. What they actually are is not riddles, but word problems. Students can choose a double and write a story problem illustrating the double and using the Magic Pot. For example:

Jasmin had 5 barrettes. She put them all in the Magic Pot. How many barrettes did she take out? 5 + 5 = 10

This book is great for the trait of Ideas. Students could write a story about what would happen if they dropped something in the pot. Ask them to think about what the results would be. One of my students has always wanted to be a twin, and this was a perfect way of writing about being half of twins.

Some students wanted to change what the pot did. We talked about what might happen if the pot made you young, or old. What if it made you a boy instead of a girl, or a girl instead of a boy? What if it turned you into an animal? What if the magic pot took you back in time? What if it moved you forward in time? No matter what grade level your students are, there is certain to be an idea about the Magic Pot which can spark their imaginations!

Magic pot problems Two of Everything It took me ten years to discover this book, but it was well worth the wait! Ms Hong has retold and illustrated a Chinese folktale. The story recounts what

## Magic pot problems

Two of Everything by Lily Toy Hong recounts a Chinese folk tale. &nbsp The farmer finds a magic pot which doubles everything that is put into it. &nbsp This humorous story is a great introduction to function machines and input/output tables as teachers make the transition to the “doubling pot” and recording information in an input/output table.

Next, teachers change the rule for the magic pot and keep it secret. &nbsp Students supply input numbers and the teacher records the output numbers for each. &nbsp Students try to guess the magic pot’s current rule. &nbsp This could then be extended to a growing pattern by simply using the last output as the next input, applying the rule and repeating the process.

Download the Magic Pot Workmat for students to use in sheet protectors.

See 5 Coins and the Magic Doubling Pot or 1000 Coins for another take on this growing pattern problem that challenges students to figure out which is the best deal.

### One Grain of Rice

One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale, illustrated by Demi, introduces the power of doubling as the main character outsmarts others by asking for just one grain of rice the first day. &nbsp Each successive day she will get double the amount of the day before. &nbsp Students are always amazed at how quickly this pattern grows.

See detailed lesson plan for Find a Pattern with “One Grain of Rice” which includes PDF handouts.

The Most Popular Food in the World: Rice challenges students to go beyond the obvious in this folktale and figure out how many people the rice would feed, etc., weaving measurement and real-life applications into extensions of this folktale. &nbsp Several different level challenges are available on the site to best meet the needs of different students in middle school math classes.

See The Million \$ Mission for a modern day job offer investigation which challenges students to identify the best payment plan.

### The King’s Chessboard

The King’s Chessboard, by David Birch, also introduces the power of doubling as the wise man outsmarts the king by asking for just one grain of rice on the first square of the chessboard. &nbsp For each successive square he will get double the amount of the previous square. &nbsp Although this request initially sounds meager, the king soon discovers that he has been outsmarted as he tries to supply the rice for each of the 64 squares of the chessboard.