Stevenson teachers excel at coming up with innovative and unique ways to teach students basic, important concepts. Grade 2 teacher Blair Cronin recently had students act out the book The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins in order to introduce them to the mathematical concept of division. In The Doorbell Rang, a classic children’s book about sharing, a group of kids must figure out how to equally dole out a batch of fresh baked cookies as more and more friends arrive at their front door. Ms. Cronin explains, “The book is a wonderful introduction to division as sharing, and it lends itself nicely to an experiential component.”
For the activity, students were assigned parts, then given a printed script of the book. They practiced their lines and created sets and props for the performance. Students performed in class with their classmates, and Ms. Cronin filmed the performance so that they could view it the next day. They had fun both performing the book and watching the story they had created.
Ms. Cronin was impressed by students’ cooperation and collaboration during the project. She explains, “I loved how the students were independently very motivated and excited to create other various props for the play, including a welcome mat for the house doorway, a family cat built on a Lego stand, and costumes for each of the characters.” She also added that students created the paper cookie props by themselves, and they smoothly counted out and shared the cookies so that every student cast member ended up with the right number of cookies—demonstrating a mastery of the basic concepts behind division.
Ultimately, Ms. Cronin felt that The Doorbell Rang activity was a great success, beyond simply being a fun way to study math. She explains, “I love creating math stories and bringing math to life in other ways whenever possible. Students worked on so much more than division; they worked on communication and collaboration skills, public speaking, body language, projecting their voices and speaking articulately, artistic design and planning, to name a few. Math is everywhere, not just found with paper and a pencil.”