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The Three Cold Kittens

Number and Algebra, Level 1
Problem Winter has set in. The three little kittens are very cold and they need mittens. Mother Cat decided to make mittens. It takes two balls of wool to make mittens for one kitten. How many balls of wool will Mother Cat need to make mittens for three little kittens? Mother Cat went shopping to buy balls of wool. One ball of wool costs $1. How much money will mother cat have to spent to buy all the wool she needs? What is this problem about? This problem involves repeated addition, which is a prelude to multiplication. It can lead to counting by twos. The problem also involves the introduction of money in a setting where the calculations are simple. This part of the problem gives a chance to see how good the childrens one to one correspondence is. The problem also gives the children the chance to explore strategies such as drawing or using equipment. Relevant Achievement Objectives

Number strategies AO1: use a range of counting, grouping, and equal-sharing strategies with whole numbers and fractions

Specific Learning Outcomes The students will be able to:

o o

count groups of two to 6; use equipment to model and add sets of twos.


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Model kittens, wool balls. Copymaster of the problem (English) Copymaster of the problem (Mori)

Teaching Sequence 1. 2. 3. 4. Introduce this problem by reading the poem "3 little kittens who lost their mittens" Pose the problem to the class. Ask the children to identify the important information given in the problem. Brainstorm for ways to solve the problem.



As the children work on the problem ask them to explain the strategy they are using: Tell me what you are doing? How is that helping you solve the problem? Share the solutions.

Other Contexts

Socks or any other garment that comes in pairs can be used. Solution One way to do this problem is to represent each cat by a closed loop and to draw two marks for the balls of wool. Once this is done the children only have to count the wool marks. They should find that six balls of wool are needed. If each ball of wool costs $1, then one dollar is needed for each ball of wool. So Mother Cat needs $6.

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