Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Royal Ball

This morning Sunburst wanted to do "school" which is different than the schule we normally do. She wanted to do "proper school" where she dresses up as the character of the day/week/month and pulls up a chair to the end table and says, "Teacher! Teacher! I'm ready for school."

Today she was Samantha.

Anyway, it seemed like a good time to pull out an idea that I had been thinking about but hadn't completely thought through yet: Math through paper folding. I totally winged it, and it turned out swell.

We started out each with a square of paper. It was the Royal Cake. How shall we cut it? Can we divide it into two slices? What about four? What if we fold it this way? Oh my, 8 pieces! Let's do that again! Wow, 16 pieces! Sunburst folded it in half and in half and in half until she couldn't crease the paper any longer.

It was a lot of counting, but Einstein helped out by writing our totals down on the chalkboard.

Hmmm... was there some sort of pattern emerging? Oh yes! 1+1 is 2. 4 is 2+2. 8 is 4+4. Sunburst noticed that every time you fold it in half again, you double the number of cake slices. "Splendid, just splendid dear," said the Queen. "Now keep folding, I say! Keep folding!"

She ended up with 128 slices of cake. Minus the King and Queen, how many guests could they serve?

But boy, were they puny slices! "This will never do!" Cried the Queen in her haughtiest voice. "Our guests are not mere mice! They shall starve on such a niblet! We shall have to cut larger pieces!" (Being a haughty queen is quite fun!)

So Sunburst looked over all the options and decided that the division of 16 made adequate pieces. Not too large, "We don't want them to start vomiting into their crystal goblets!" And not too small. "Our guests are not mice!" So then we started subtracting the King and Queen and the two Royal Princesses to see how many guests we could invite.

Of those 12, we mused how many invitations we would need to write. Twelve? What if some of them live together? What if they are families? Yes, what if there were two people in each family? Or three? Or four?...

When we finally figured it all out, then we had to decide how we would deliver these invitations. The Royal Horses all had the flu. Whatever shall we do? Of course, we'll send out the Royal Bird! We put all that paper folding practice just then to use making our own origami birds. They flew around the room and finally nested in the well of Einstein's banjo.

Moonshine also wanted a princess origami doll. So we folded one up and decorated it with stamps and such.

It was a Rollicking, Royal Good Time. And I dare say, we may have learned something.

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