One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale by Demi
I have read many books by world-renowned children’s book author, Demi, but I have not gotten around to reviewing any of Demi’s books yet. “One Grain of Rice” is the first book by Demi that I am reviewing and it is a folktale from India that is about a young woman named Rani who tries to trick the raja of India into giving her more rice than is needed during a famine. “One Grain of Rice” is truly a worthy folktale that will be loads of fun for children!
When Demi stated in the title of this book that this is a clever tale, she was not kidding! Demi has done an excellent job at both illustrating and writing this clever story that is full of pure wit! What really stood out for me in Demi’s writing was how Demi portrayed the main character Rani as a clever and independent heroine of the story as Rani uses her wits and her talented use of mathematics as a way to teach the raja a lesson he will never forget! I also loved the way that Demi uses mathematics as a major plot device in this book as it helps children learn more about mathematics and Demi made this book even more helpful for children by providing a chart at the back of the book about how Rani doubled each number per day, so you do not have to necessarily use a calculator to work out the formula used by Rani, but you can use a calculator if you want to teach your child about how to work out the problems on their own. Demi’s illustrations are extremely beautiful in this book as she uses watercolor painting to illustrate the characters and the landscapes. My favorite images in this book are of Rani herself as she is a truly beautiful looking character as she wears a gorgeous Indian red dress and has flowing black hair that touches her back. I also enjoyed the images of all the animals that were being used when they were delivering the rice to Rani and the image that truly stood out for me was the image of the elephants bring Rani the rice in baskets as the page is folded out and you can see hundreds of elephants waking across the page.
Overall, “One Grain of Rice” is a truly wonderful and clever folktale for children who love folktales from India and want to learn about mathematics in a creative way! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the mathematical approach in this story might be too difficult for smaller children to understand.
Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog
Puzzle ~ Covering a Chessboard With Dominoes
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There's a famous legend about the origin of chess that goes like this. When the inventor of the game showed it to the emperor of India, the emperor was so impressed by the new game, that he said to the man. I only wish for this. Give me one grain of rice for the first square of the chessboard, two grains for the next square, four for the next, eight for the next and so on for all 64 squares, with each square having double the number of grains as the square before. The emperor agreed, amazed that the man had asked for such a small reward - or so he thought. After a week, his treasurer came back and informed him that the reward would add up to an astronomical sum, far greater than all the rice that could conceivably be produced in many many centuries!
Long, but it can be done. Math Central. Question from andy, a teacher: Is there an easy way for my students to find out 8 to the power of 21 to solve the grains of rice doubling investigation on a chessboard? Any suggestions welcome. Thanks very much. Andy, I think that finding 8 21 is probably a bad start; the best solution would never find this number explicitly.
A chessboard has 64 squares.
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Rice on a Chessboard - An Exponential Story
There's this story about an old Chinese man who came to the Chinese Emperor and asked for some rice. When the Emperor asked him how much he desired how much thou desireth? And the Emperor went mental. Well, at first the Emperor gloated and laughed at the old man, thinking him for a fool. People have a really hard time understanding how mighty the exponent is.
This is a story about a chessboard, a game of chess and the incredible power of exponential numbers. At the Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple in South India is a Hindu temple built some time during the 15thth century which today has a very curious tradition, with an even more curious story behind it. All pilgrims to the temple are served a dish known as paal payasam, a sweet pudding made of rice and milk. But why? The tradition has some very mathematical origins. Once upon a time, the king who ruled over the region of Ambalappuzha was visited by a travelling sage, who challenged the king to a game of chess. The king was well known for his love of chess and so he readily accepted the challenge.
The wheat and chessboard problem sometimes expressed in terms of rice grains is a mathematical problem expressed in textual form as:. If a chessboard were to have wheat placed upon each square such that one grain were placed on the first square, two on the second, four on the third, and so on doubling the number of grains on each subsequent square , how many grains of wheat would be on the chessboard at the finish? The problem may be solved using simple addition. The total number of grains equals 18,,,,,,, much higher than most expect. This exercise can be used to demonstrate how quickly exponential sequences grow, as well as to introduce exponents, zero power, capital-sigma notation and geometric series. Updated for modern times using pennies and the hypothetical question, "Would you rather have a million dollars or the sum of a penny doubled every day for a month? In this case, the total value of the resulting pennies would surpass two million dollars in February or ten million dollars in other months.