If you read my last post about FreeRice, you’ll notice today’s activity is a natural extension of that experience. As soon as our 1350 grains of rice were earned we took a break from the “weirdo computer guy” with the too hard math questions and headed to the kitchen for a snack. Once there, a clever child asked an innocent question:

 “How much rice does it take to make dinner?”

I was not planning to go there, but I swear they asked! Thus began our half-hour of rice counting, in an attempt to determine how many grains it takes to feed our family dinner. 

I scooped up a jar of dry rice to show the kids about how much I would cook to feed the 5 of us (no leftovers). I don’t measure rice, but this is somewhere between 1 and 1 1/2 cups:
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Counting individual grains of rice is no easy feat. They are so tiny you get dizzy staring at the grains (speaking for my eyes only), they stick to your fingers, they roll around, and there are just so darn many of them! There was no way we could count each piece so we had to come up with an estimation scheme.

We had a few different ideas. We tried different spoons, little plates, and bowls in an attempt to keep track of the grains.

I don’t recall how Mr. Potato Head’s ear was involved, but there it is.

We eventually determined that 100 grains of rice is roughly equivalent to a ½ teaspoon.  We took a few ½-teaspoon scoops and counted them to make sure our assumption was OK. It was, depending on who did the scooping! With that information, we decided a teaspoon of rice would equal (approximately) 200 grains.

From there, we measured 2000 grains into the small blue bowl, one teaspoon at a time. It didn’t look like much:
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Based on the final measurements we estimate it takes about 8000 grains of rice to feed our family for dinner. Suddenly we didn’t feel so excited about those 1350 grains we earned answering math problems on FreeRice. It’s barely enough to feed one meal to a toddler.  Ah well, there’s the motivation we needed to go back and play some more. π
Hilary
03/28/2011 20:55

This is great! I realized that I could be using my measuring cups and spoons as teaching tools ... instead I usually just say "one of these" instead of requesting them to pour in a "1/2 teaspoon" ... Thanks, Jen!

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03/29/2011 19:09

No no no thank YOU Hilary! Nice to know someone is reading :)

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03/30/2011 14:16

Love the focused rice counting picture and the use of measuring spoons. I've been finding measuring spoons, cups, etc. are a great way to teach fractions because the kids can pour back and forth. And while pie charts sound delicious, they're disappointing to a 4-year-old who expects to enjoy a piece of blueberry. It's way better when the lesson results in actual rice for dinner...or cookies :-)

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Austin
05/18/2012 09:17

Im in school and really bored so i hoped on freerice, and im at 2010 grains. and counting

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Mason
05/14/2015 09:48

I got iss in school and made a goal of reaching 16,000 bc thats one bag and i ended up getting to 20,000

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