We took a tiny break from building our tiny houses yesterday to extend a story I read on Monday. Spaghetti and Meatballs for All is a book written to engage children to think about math concepts like area and perimeter in a fun way. In the story, Mr. and Mrs. Comfort invite 32 people for dinner and set 8 square tables to seat 4 people at each, one to a side. But as guests arrive, they all have their own ideas on how to change the arrangement so that different groups can sit together. Mrs. Comfort, who had planned it all, protests, knowing that there will be seating problems later, but her protests are ignored. After many reconfigurations, and lots of cheerful confusion, it all works out in the end as - you guessed it - the tables get back to their original state and Mrs. Comfort was proved right after all.
We used square origami paper to stand for tables and beans to stand as chairs, as groups of children worked out the story as I reread it. This way, children could see that as tables were squished together, the perimeter did indeed change. We will continue to use Mr. and Mrs. Comfort and their dinner party as a way to extend our knowledge about perimeter and area in the next week or so - I am thinking of a lot of different challenges!