Monday, July 25, 2011

Picasso's Masterpiece - A True Story

Mrs. Jackson... someone stole three of my crayons!,” echoed across the room. Quickly, I raised the lid to my pack of 24. That's right, no silver, no gold, no cool sharpener, only the classic 24. In disbelief, I shouted, “Mrs. Jackson, I'm missing four crayons.”  I mean, this was first grade. We haven't even learned how to steal, I thought to myself.

The next day, other classmates alleged the same crime. “I'm missing 3 crayons.” “I'm missing 4.” “Someone stole my favorite color, sky blue.” These phrases permeated the room. This time, Mrs. Jackson had all students take out everything in their desk. She was determined to find the culprit. What she discovered was that students who had their crayons in a plastic container, had no crayons missing. What could this mean?

This continued for two more days as Mrs. Jackson would begin each day by saying, “Everyone check to see if anyone is missing any crayons.” My classic 24 was now a lonely dozen. Thirteen if you count my white crayon. (Who really needs a white crayon anyway. It has absolutely no use whatsoever.) Suddenly, the answer to this riddle revealed itself. Two small teeth marks glared back at me. “Mrs. Jackson, come and look at my crayon box...HURRY!”

By the sound of the last bell, I had placed my remaining crayons in my backpack along with a note from Mrs. Jackson introducing our parents to our new crafty friend, the pack rat. The letter also encouraged students to bring a plastic container for our crayons.

The next day, Mrs. Jackson allowed all students to collaborate together to figure the total number of crayons this pak rat had confiscated each day. She then created an authentic story problem on the board. “If Picasso the Pak rat, took 53 crayons on Monday, 38 crayons on Tuesday, 62 crayons on Wednesday, 41 crayons on Thursday, and 20 crayons on Friday, how many total crayons did Picasso take? Yes, that's right, 214 crayons

To this day, you can ask any student from room 103, “How many crayons did Picasso take?”, and the response will undoubtedly be, 214. 

Within only a few days, a huge trap did it's job. Just inside the ceiling tile above my head, a huge nest the size of a pumpkin was discovered.  This magnificent nest was filled with shades of blues, greens, purples, reds, and yellows.  Crayons, 214 to be exact,were interwoven into a brilliant masterpiece! This was the week I learned to add double digit numbers.  More importantly, this was the week I learned to love math.

Thanks @thenerdyteacher, for the tweet heard 'round the world.  #schooldidagoodthing
Photo by Jason Liebig 

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