Today's book is Sir Cumference and the Knights of the Round Table by Cindy Neuschwander.
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I LOVE all the Sir Cumference books! If you have yet to check them out, make sure you do! They cover a range of math concepts - mainly geometry, but also a few others.
I think the theme of this particular book is best used as a review of perimeter, and an introduction to circles, but I'm sure it could easily be integrated in more ways.
Quick summary - The king is upset because the rectangular table he uses to discuss matters of great importance with his knights is not very accommodating. He requests that Sir Cumference build a new table that will meet all his needs.
For this activity I only read up to page 7 on the first day. At this point I ask the students to identify the problem Sir Cumference is dealing with, and tell them that they need to help him find a solution.
I provide each student with 3 pieces of brown construction paper that I have cut into rectangles (5 cm x 20 cm OR 1” x 4”) to represent the 5’ x 20’ wood table from the book.
They need to cut and paste the paper any way they can think of, to make a new shape that will be better suited to the knights’ discussions. They are only allowed to use the amount of paper they have for each table (i.e. no taking from one table to add to another), but they do not necessarily need to use it all. I tell the students that we know how the story will likely end, given the title, so they are not allowed to make a circular table. Their table must have edges that they can measure, to determine the perimeter. If possible, students could also determine the area of their tables.
I have the students complete this activity in their Math Scrapbooks.
Here are just a few tables my students came up with...
Once the students have finished creating their new tables I read the rest of the book (usually the next day/class). After each new shape is revealed I stop to ask how many students created the same one in the activity the previous day. At the end I also invite students to share ones that were not mentioned in the book and the class votes on the most creative table.
Like this activity? You can grab it here.
Interested in reading in Math class, but not sure how to get started? Check out my list of must have books for Grades 1-5, and Grades 6 and up.