Winnie, the nice lady in charge of the cafeteria, has a stupendous idea for the school picnic: "Let's make sundaes!" Lauren, James, and Emily help out and are amazed by how many different kinds of sundaes you can make with just two ice-cream flavors, two sauces, and two types of toppings. But when supplies run low, the number of combinations changes. Determining how many different combinations can be made from given sets of items is an important first step in understanding probability. Illustrated by Cynthia Jabar.
As you read the story, ask questions such as: "How many flavors of ice-cream are there?" "How many different sauces?" "How many toppings?" and "How many different sundaes could the kids make?"
Re-create your own sundae scoop story. Have the child think of several different flavors of ice-cream, sauces, and toppings, and write them down. Help them draw diagrams similar to those in the story to determine the number of different sundaes they could create with their imaginary ingredients.
Lay out 2 pairs of shoes, 4 shirts, and 2 different pairs of pants for your child. Together, figure out the number of different outfits that are possible.
When we read "The Sundae Scoop," we discuss the different combinations. And then we’ll do combinations with something else, like clothing. For example, you have three t-shirts to pick from, and two pairs of pants and shoes. Or we can do t-shirts and shorts, or skirts for girls. If you want to add on shoes, it makes the problem even harder. So I give them a choice. They are amazed they have so many outcomes.
They can sketch the clothes and show colors and stripes. We make the combinations tree, like the one in the book. And then they add up the combinations. For homework, they can use food. For example, a dinner at McDonalds: You can get a cheeseburger, a hamburger or a chicken McNuggets. You can get French fries, a cookie or apple dippers. And you can get fruit punch or orange juice or milk. What are all the different combinations you can have?
from Jennifer Hong, Punahou School, Honolulu, HI
More math that kids-and not a few adults-can relate to, from the master of math concepts. Here he tackles combinations via a story of kids making sundaes at a school picnic. First the kids discuss the number of ice creams, sauces, and toppings they will use, drawing a chart to illustrate the possibilities aptly rendered in the playful pastel, disheveled artwork that looks just like a sundae. Murphy plays the concept like a slide trombone: Up, up the number of potential combinations mount, and then, as the kids commence to dish out the goods at the picnic, the options start to drop down, down as the sprinkles tip over and the chocolate ice cream melts and the caramel gets spilled. The chill that the words "combinational analysis" send through the bones is chased away by the clarity of Murphy's diagramming, flow charts that show just how many different sundaes might be ordered. As always in the MathStart series, Murphy supplies a number of activity ideas that extend and embellish upon the concepts being introduced as well as a short bibliography. Be prepared to head for the freezer.Used with permission from Kirkus Reviews. Copyright ¬©2002, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
The latest addition to the MathStart series presents the concept of combinations in a story about a group of children who host and ice cream booth at their school picnic. With two flavors of ice cream, two sauces, and two choices of toppings, the children are surprised that eight different sundaes are available. But when Lauren spills all the sprinkles, the group is down to four possibilities. Then James spills the caramel sauce, and only two sundae choices remain. Murphy easily folds the math concepts into a lively story that will capture young readers, and Jabar reinforces the lesson with colorful, whimsical drawings of delectable ice cream scoops. The book closes with follow-up activities that will be useful for parents and teachers who want to encourage children to create stories using this concept.
—Helen Rosenberg, 1/1/03
Used with permission from Booklist. Copyright ¬© 2003 American Library Association. All rights reserved.
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