One Grain of Rice

I'm working on exponential functions with my class, and I had planned on doing the Illuminations activity "One Grain of Rice".  I was just curious as to whether anyone else has tried this lesson.  I tried it last year, but students weren't necessarily making an exponential connection... however, I had tried it earlier... before they had a chance to compare linear and exponential functions.

Any tips or words of advice?

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One of my favorite lessons is the grain of rice problem with the chess board!  I have a box of rice and a chess board to capture the students interest.  I have them start out by drawing the grains of rice on a model of a chess board.  I have them make a prediction by looking at the box of rice, is it enough, not enough or too much rice for the amount on the 64th square.  When we start doing the calculations on how much rice with respect to how many boxes it would take and how many classrooms would be needed it generates some good discussions. One year I actually made little one cubic inch boxes and had the students count how many grains of rice are in one cubic inch.  (I had each row divide up the grains and we took an average).

I am attaching two handouts that I use with my Algebra 2 classes.

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WOW!  What a great way to give a "hands on" approach to this lesson!  Thanks for sharing!!  I'm printing out your documents as we speak.

I started this lesson with my 8th grade Algebra class and they really enjoyed it. Thanks for the handouts.

Have not tried it yet.

Attached is a lesson from the FuturesChannel website you might be interested in.

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Hi Beverly,

I teach this concept through the Connect Math Project.  I start out the book by reading "The King's Chessboard" by David Birch (picked it up at Borders).  In the story is the answer to the amount of rice on the 64th square - so I just mumble that part of the story and tell the kids that it is the answer to their homework question...  I tried something different with my team-taught "Special Needs" class this year.  I broke the students (I have 34 of them) into 6 groups and then gave each of them a checkerboard and a box of square toothpicks.  I made one the the students be the recorder, two the counters, one the stacker, one the multiplier, and one an overseer (the overseer kept everyone on task).  The students then had to make the table and put the toothpicks on the squares ... and very soon became frustrated at the lack of space.  But it was amazing to see them not only get the concepts of doubling, but to hear their comments about how large the numbers would get and how quickly it would take off.  Then they started talking about scientific notation (they had just finished it in science class the previous week) - so I was able to tie that concept in as well.  It works really well for kids to see just how quickly the toothpicks "grow" - and how they are glad that they don't have to count out enough to fill all 64 squares!  Have fun with it ... next year, I would like to try washers - so that they "stack". --- Catherine

Great ideas everyone.  I'm trying The King's Chessboard tomorrow, as I am a huge Connected Math fan!  I can't wait for the rich student discussions!