Your students will be amazed when they use doubling to see how many people are part of their family tree! To begin, draw a figure on the board and label it “me.” Then draw two figures underneath. Label this generation “parents.” (You may want to discuss that you are focusing on birth parents, who are not always a person's primary caregivers.) Ask, “How many birth grandparents do I have?” Keep going until you reach the largest number your board can handle. (Each person has 128 great-great-great-great-grandparents!)
Pattern Block Family Feast
What's on the menu when the entire family comes to dinner? How about a geometry lesson that mixes four kinds of pattern blocks: hexagons, squares, triangles, and parallelograms? Each block represents a table that seats one person per side. Invite students to choose enough tables to seat their extended family. They can trace their “seating chart” onto a piece of paper. For younger students, the numbers need not be exact. For instance, three six-sided hexagons can seat a family of 17. Challenge older students to group their pattern blocks together into one big family table. Demonstrate how two squares, which separately sit eight, can sit only six when put together in a rectangle. Then replace one square with a triangle to show a table that seats five. Encourage students to use the fewest possible number of blocks. Have them each write a paragraph to explain their reasoning.
Foot Data Shuffle
Take measurement a step further with an activity that inspires critical thinking and logical analysis. First, ask students to trace each family member's foot, cut out the tracings, and label them with the person's name, age, and gender. (Younger students may need a parent's help.) Back in class, invite small groups to work together to line up the tracings from smallest to largest. Ask children to look for patterns in this data set of foot length. Does it matter whether the person is a child or an adult? With children's feet, which factor influences size more: age or gender? How about with adults' feet? Ask students to predict which family would have the longest overall foot length if each child taped his or her tracings heel-to-toe. Would it matter how many people were in the family? How many of them were adults? How old the kids were? Finish by testing their predictions.
My Family Graph (Using the Reproducible)
Expand students´ graphing skills with this activity that celebrates extended families. Send each child home with a copy of the My Family Graph Reproducible, below. Children can color one square per family member in red for females and blue for males. Back in class, encourage students to study their graphs to determine whether their families have more kids than adults, more adults than kids, or the same number of each. Pool the data and make a class graph of the results. For older students, divide the class into small groups and challenge each student to write a description of his or her own graph that distinguishes it from the other graphs in his or her group. They might consider if there are more boys than girls, more parents than children, or more grandparents than parents. Put two groups together. Does each child´s description still fit only his or her own graph?
Families Around the Clock
Commemorate family rituals and encourage time-reading skills with this book and clock-making activity. First, have students fold two pieces of paper in half to make an 8-page, 4 1/4" x 11" book. Then invite children to draw pictures on each inside page of the activities their families do at different times of the day, labeling their drawings with the appropriate time. Help students staple the booklets to the bottom of a piece of construction paper and write “My Family Around the Clock” on the cover. Next, pass out one paper reinforcement disc per student. Demonstrate how to center it on the top of the paper and poke a pencil through the middle to make a hole. Pass out brads and pairs of pre-cut oaktag clock hands with holes punched at one end. Students should place the hour hand on top of the minute hand and use the brass fastener to secure. Children can then draw a clock face around the hands. Encourage them to read their books with a partner, resetting the paper clock with each new family activity.
Number Scavenger Hunt
Sharpen kids' number sense and help your class become better acquainted with a fun family scavenger hunt! Invite students to interview each other to find a classmate who fits each of these categories:
1. Has more brothers than sisters
2. Has more sisters than brothers
3. Has zero brothers and sisters
4. Is the oldest kid in the family
5. Is the youngest kid in the family
6. Has an even number of pets
7. Has an odd number of pets
8. Has more than 10 cousins
9. Has zero cousins
10. Has a family member older than 100
Challenge older students with categories that involve more math, such as “has a prime number of cousins.”
Kids are fascinated by age. A book of family word problems appeals to this interest and boosts addition and subtraction skills as well. Invite students to write problems using siblings' or cousins' ages and then copy them onto index cards. For example: “Hannah is five. Chris is six years older than Hannah. How old is Chris?” Have students illustrate each problem and write the answer on the back. Put the cards on a binder ring to make a book. Students will enjoy quizzing each other at a math center.