Disclosure: Tuttle Publishing gave me a copy of Indian Children's Favorite Stories free of charge. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. They also sent me a copy to giveaway! As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.
This month we are exploring India as part of the Global Learning for Kids series. Today I thought I would focus on some Indian mathematicians and an Indian mathematical folk tale. Last month I shared the history of zero and the role the Indians played in it. First we will explore a few of the same mathematicians, Aryabhata and Brahmagupta, and introduce another Indian mathematician, Srinivasa Ramanujan. The Indians had a huge influence on our current number system and mathematics. Although it was the Arabs who took their number system and made it famous.
|Statue of Aryabhata |
See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
|Brahmagupta By anonymous |
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
|Srinivasa Ramanujan By Konrad Jacobs |
(Oberwolfach Photo Collection, original location)
[CC BY-SA 2.0 de], via Wikimedia Commons
The books we used to learn a bit about the Indian Mathematicians are pictured above.
Now Hazel got a bit bored with learning about the mathematicians who were doing things she could not understand. However she did enjoy the mathematical folk tale. We have read a few versions of the story and one version can be found in the book, Indian Children's Favorite Stories retold by Rosemarie Somaiah and illustrated by Ranjan Somaiah. The first story in the book is "Munna and the Grain of Rice".
Munna is the daughter of the elephant keepers at the palace. She loves the elephants and loves to spend time with them. She likes to pretend she is a rani (queen) when she rides on their backs. The Raja (king) of her small kingdom thought he was a kind and fair king, but the farmers did not agree. He ordered the farmers to bring him all the rice to store. He allowed them only enough rice to stay alive. One year there was a drought and the farmers had no rice to give to the Raja or feed themselves. They waited for the Raja to give them the rice he stored for them, but the Raja did not want to give it to them since there would be none left for him.
One day Munna noticed that while the bags of rice were being transported to the king on the elephants back that one of the bags had a hole in it and the rice was spilling out. She gathered the fallen rice in her skirt and took them to the Raja. He decided to reward Munna for her honesty. He offered her gold, silver and jewels, but Munna was so hungry and smart that she came up with a plan. She asked the Raja for one grain of rice and he demanded she have more. She said if he insisted she would take one grain the first day and have in give her twice the amount of rice the next day and to keep doubling the number of grains of rice for a month. The Raja thought it was too little, but he decided to go with it. Needless to say by the end of the month, Munna was able to feed the kingdom. We will leave the exact number for you to figure out in this activity.
The first page is for kids who are just learning how to double or need to practice. The second page is for more advanced kids who can come up with formulas from the pattern. Other ideas would be to introduce finding the area of triangles and rectangles, volume of spheres, and circumference of circles, or working with our place value system. This came from India!
As you can see in the pictures of the book, the illustrations are fun and go with the stories. The book has eight stories in it. They range from this fun mathematical tale to ones about the gods and so much more. Many have lessons are are fun to read. A couple Hazel found a little confusing, but I think it might because they were about their gods and it is completely different from our own beliefs (and perhaps my mispronunciation of the names). We really enjoyed this book!! We will share more about it next week when we share some of the resources we have been using to explore India.
This post is part of the Global Learning for Kids series. Each month we explore a country and share our explorations in a link party. If you have any books, crafts, recipes, activities, lessons, etc. about India, please share them here. And if you are looking for ideas to explore India check them all out!