Bookmark Monday: One Grain of Rice

First, a note of thanks to our readers who have provided encouraging feedback and comments on Bookmark Monday – I really hope we continue to find and review good books, and that you’ll continue to share your thoughts with us.

On the back of the positive feedback we’ve received on our review of the Warlord series, I wanted to share this other mathematical folktale – One Grain of Rice, written and illustrated by Demi.

We discovered this author and her series of books in the local library, and have put in an order to purchase our own copy of “One Grain of Rice”. While it’s early days yet for our children to be learning squaring of numbers, it’s an investment that we’ll be keeping in store for our own family’s future “math enrichment” fun that one can’t get from doing school workbook assigned pages of sums. 😉

While she is more well-known for folk tales with moral lessons built into the storyline, such as “The Donkey and The Rock”, “The Greatest Power”, and “The Hungry Coat”, we feel that “One Grain of Rice” is an absolute gem because it combines moral lessons about justice, greed and selflessness, with a mathematical theme around squaring and exponential growth.

In the book, there is a chart showing how a single grain of rice, doubled every day for thirty days, results in a haul of 536, 870, 912 grains by the thirtieth day. Added up all together over thirty days, more than a billion grains of rice were delivered. Also, below are some website links I’ve found with math lesson plans themed around the book.   If you do give it a try, I’m always interested to hear how it went for you. 🙂

Synopsis extracted from the book:

Long ago in India, there lived a raja who believed that he was wise and fair. But every year he kept nearly all of the people’s rice for himself. Then when famine came, the raja refused to share the rice, and the people went hungry. Then a village girl named Rani devises a clever plan. She does a good deed for the raja, and in return, the raja lets her choose her reward. Rani asks for just one grain of rice, doubled every day for thirty days.
Through the surprising power of doubling, one grain of rice grows into more than one billion grains of rice — and Rani teaches the raja a lesson about what it truly means to be wise and fair.


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  1. Bookmark Monday: Folk tales « Wonderbee… - October 24, 2011

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