If you teach second grade, you have likely heard that February 22, 2022, or 2/22/22, is just around the corner. Adding to the excitement, it falls on a Tuesday! Twos all around! Creative teachers are coming up with all kinds of fun “Twosday” celebration ideas. I’d thought I’d add to the idea bank with one of my favorite math read alouds, Two of Everything. I’m also sharing a free math activity to go along with it. Not only will this will be fun for a Twosday read aloud, but it is also great doubles and odd and even practice for any day of the year that supports students in deepening their understanding of the standards. You may find that you want to add it to your plans on February 22 from now on!
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Twosday Read Aloud: Two of Everything
Two of Everything is a Chinese folktale written by Lily Hong. The story begins by introducing us to a poor elderly couple, Mr. and Mrs. Haktak. One day, Mr. Haktak digs up a mysterious brass pot from their garden. At first, the pair are unsure of what they will do with such a pot, but when Mrs. Haktak accidentally drops her only hairpin inside, the pot’s magic is revealed — out come two hairpins! The couple is ecstatic and can’t believe their luck, until Mrs. Haktak stumbles and falls into the pot herself! I think you’ll find it to be a perfect read aloud for Twosday. You can pick up a copy on Amazon here.
Two of Everything Math Activity
If you’ve read Two of Everything, you have likely noted a clear connection to teaching doubles facts. In second grade, students may need to review adding doubles, but we also take the concept a bit further. The connection to doubles facts in our Common Core standards is within the concept of odd and even numbers. Second graders not only determine if a group of objects has an odd or even number, but also write equations to express even numbers as the sum of two equal addends.
With this activity, I first wanted to give students an opportunity to create a concrete model of the story’s events. I began with having students act out the story concept by placing counters on their own magic pots and then doubling the number of counters. We used base ten block units for this, but counters of any kind will work. Students then recorded a doubles equation to model what happened inside the magic pot on their chart. Although some examples came right from the story, I also used others that students had to think through independently.
Next, I wanted to connect to the concept of odd and even. In the next column of our recording sheet, I asked students to determine if the total number of objects coming out of the pot was odd or even. For this part of the task, you can model pairing counters to determine if the total is odd or even. Counting objects by twos is another strategy specifically mentioned in the standard. I like to introduce both.
After completing all of the examples in the chart, I asked students to think about whether or not an odd number of items can ever come out of Haktak’s magic pot. Answers to this question gave me a glimpse into how deeply they understood the concept of odd versus even. I also got some insight into whether or not students were making use of mathematical structure and using tools strategically. Did students notice that the number of items coming out of the pot is always even? Did they use the counters to investigate further examples if needed? Could they explain why the number of items coming out of the pot will always be even? This question is full of connections to the Standards for Mathematical Practice and takes students’ thinking about odd and even a bit deeper.
If you’d like to give this activity a try with your class, pick up a free recording sheet and printable pots here. I’d love to know how it goes!
I hope this Twosday read aloud activity for Two of Everything adds a little extra hands-on fun to your math block. If you’d also like to learn about how I brought the Standards for Mathematical Practice into daily morning meetings in my classroom, take a look at this post next. I wish you all a very happy Twosday!
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