How Many Spots Does a Leopard Have? Storybook Math Activities


Excited to share with you what we have been up to for the monthly book club, Poppins Book Nook!  May's theme was folktales; a folktale is a story that has been told and {re}told for many years.  Our library has shelves full of folktales mixed in with other closely related books--fables, tall tales, and fairy tales.  After reading through our stash, we decided to share some math activities for the African Folktale, "How Many Spots Does a Leopard Have?"
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I was pleasantly surprised by the different math concepts woven into some of the books we brought home.  During the past month, we also read Clay Boy, which would be a creative introduction to comparing sizes and Two of Everything, which is a cute story introducing doubles.  Our chosen book, How Many Spots Does a Leopard Have? is a rather funny story that weaves in counting, addition, and multiplication into the story.

Storybook Go-along Activity

It all begins with a rather vain Leopard admiring his beautiful spots when Plover comes and agrees that they are beautiful but questions, how many spots he has?  Leopard cannot count but with the help of numerous animals he finally comes up with an answer that he is happy with.  If you want to know how many spots leopard has, you'll have to read the book for yourself!  Until then, here is how we explored different math concepts for this story.

How Many Spots Does a Leopard Have? was a great introduction to counting!  Giraffe was able to count the highest, however "when he got to sixty-nine, he paused.  Does anyone know what comes after sixty-nine?" "Seventy!" said Tortoise.  "No, eighty!" argued Eagle.  All the arguing exhausted Giraffe and since no one else could count as high as him, they soon left.

A fun way to extend this concept would be to ask your child, "What comes after.....?"  or see how high your child can count!

Giraffe counted thirty-seven spots on Leopard's tail and twenty-two on Leopard's head, but no one knew how to add the two numbers together.

However, if your child is working on double-digit addition, he/she will be able to!
The concept of multiplication to figure out how many spots leopard has was used by Monkey.  Monkey counted to ten spots and then started over again.  "Wait!" exclaimed Leopard.  "Why did you start over?"  "It's multiplication," answered Monkey. [...] Two tens make twenty. Three tens makes thirty."  

My son has been interested in multiplication lately, so we did a couple of different activities to explore this concept.  First we pulled out our bucket of black pom poms and made groups of ten, just like Monkey.
Another way we explored multiplication was by using our pom poms with a muffin tin.  I wrote out several multiplication problems for him to work through.  We would fill each muffin cup/ "group" with a certain amount of pom poms to find the answer.
Who knew you could explore counting, addition, and multiplication in one book?--let alone a Folktale!!  Definitely thankful for this month's Poppins Book Nook theme; we found several great books to read that we otherwise would not have read.

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Hope you have some time to see what the other co-hosts read this month!
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See you next month for the theme, The Great Outdoors!

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