Activities & Lesson Plans - 3rd & 4th Grade Newsletter 3/12/10 - The Mad Hatter

Grade: 3rd-4th

March 12, 2010 | Grades 3&4

In This Issue: Best Director Makes Her-story, Click for Thin Mints, The Mad Man With the Hat

A Win for Women

Kathryn Bigelow made history by winning an Oscar for Best Director. She is the first woman to win the award. "It's the moment of a lifetime," Bigelow said as she accepted the honor. Her film, The Hurt Locker, earned the award for Best Picture. 


Activity Ideas - Language Arts


Share this with your child: March is Women's History Month; this year's theme is "Writing Women Back Into History." Thirty years ago, five women founded the National Women's History Project, to tell the stories of important women in America's history. 

  • Suggest that your child write about a happy memory or important event involving a woman that he or she looks up to; it could be a coach, family member, teacher, etc. 
  • Have him or her describe what made the event special or fun, using anecdotes and details. 
  • Tell your child to write about his or her role model in a way that will make the reader see her through your child's eyes. Give examples. Is she encouraging? Then suggest your child write about a time that she helped him or her feel talented, capable, etc.

BonusSuggest your child research an important woman in history, then write a brief biography about the woman similar to what you would find in an encyclopedia. Be sure to use a few different sources to get the story straight.

ResourcesNational Women's History ProjectLibrary of Congress

Learning Tips: Writing Descriptions, Writing Narratives


Computer Cookies
Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs—how did all those cookies get on your computer? For the first time ever, Girl Scouts are marketing cookies online. Enter your zip code to find a troop of cookie salesgirls near you.  
Cookie sales add up to a $700 million business for Girl Scouts. Which kinds keep people coming back for more? See how the cookie crumbles, below.
Best-Selling Girl Scout Cookies
Thin Mints  25%
Samoas/Caramel deLites  19%
Peanut Butter Patties/Tagalongs  13%
Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-si-dos  11%
Shortbread/Trefoils  9%
Other varieties (combined)  23%

Activity Ideas - Math

Use the formula below to convert each % to a fraction. In most cases here, the division won't work out as a whole number but as a decimal. Round the decimal up or down to a whole number.

Thin Mints: Write 25% as fraction: 25/100. Simplify fraction: Divide numerator and denominator by 25 (25 numerator ÷ 25 = 1) (100 denominator ÷ 25 = 4). Answer = 1/4

Samoas: 1.9/10 (round up) 2/10 = 1/5

Peanut Butter Patties: 1.3/10 (round down) = 1/10

Peanut Butter Sandwich: 1.1/10 = 1/10

Shortbread: 1.8/20 = 2/20 = 1/10

Other: 2.3/10 = 2/10 = 1/5

Bonus: Explain to your child that when we write a fraction we are drawing a "number picture." Draw three pie (or in this case cookie) charts. Divide the first into four pieces, the second in five pieces, and the third into 10 pieces. Help your child represent 1/4, 1/5, and 1/10 by coloring in the number of pieces represented by the fraction. 


Learning Tips: Decimals and Fractions EquivalentsComparing Fractions Using PicturesShow Fractions Using a Picture

Games: Melvin's Make a MatchMission: Magnetite

Mad Hatter Still KideosIs the Hatter Off His Rocker?

Poor, misunderstood Mad Hatter. The Alice in Wonderland character hasn't been able to shake his reputation as a madman since 1865, when the book by Lewis Carroll was first published. Visit Kideos for the movie trailer featuring Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter.

Activity Ideas - Language Arts 
Share with your child the New York Times article devoted to whether or not the Mad Hatter is truly mad, as in crazy, or just extremely eccentric. No one can quite agree on the origin of the phrase or whether or not it refers to the Hatter's mental health. For his part, Lewis Carroll said "I didn't mean anything but nonsense!"
  • In the spirit of the Mad Hatter himself, come up with silly, nonsense metaphors that don't mean much of anything but sound like they could.
  • Give your child only one rule—create metaphors that sound good rolling off the tongue. They might rhyme, for example.
  • Dream up an equally silly origin for one or more of the phrases. 

Learning TipsFigurative Language

Game of the Week
Pizza Game Mr. Nussbaum

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