Activities & Lesson Plans - 5th & 6th Grade Newsletter 2/26/10 - Superman Sells!

Grade: 5th-6th

February 26, 2010 | Grades 5 & 6

In This Issue: Turn 10 Cents into $1 Million, Re-Inventing the Hot Dog, Can Sleep Make You Smarter? 

Superman ComicMillion Dollar Man

The sale of a rare comic proved that Superman is able to reach high dollar "billings" in a single bound. A 1938 edition of Action Comics No. 1 marks the superhero's debut. The comic originally sold for 10 cents but a private buyer paid $1 million to own one of only 100 remaining copies. KABLOOEY! Faster than a speeding bullet a rare copy of Detective Comics No. 27 sold for $1,075,500, setting a new record as we went to press.

Activity Ideas - Math

Problem Solving, Percentages

The Daily Telegraph published a list of the world's most valuable comic books; their prices represent the book's value only if it was in mint condition.

1. Action Comics No. 1 $1,390,000 (Published in 1938, Price 10¢)

2. Detective Comics No. 27 $1,380,000 (1939, 10¢)

3. Superman No. 1 $671,000 (1939, 10¢)

4. All-American Comics No. 16 $430,000 (1939, 10¢)

5. Detective Comics No. 1 $405,000 (1937, 10¢)

Share this list with your child (does not include most recent sale). Then calculate the percentage difference between the original price and the current value of a perfect copy. Break the problem into steps.

Step 1: Calculate the difference by subtracting its original value from today's value. ($1,390,000.00  - $0.10 = $1,389,999.90)

Step 2: Divide that difference by the original value. ($1,389,999.90 ÷ $0.10 = 13,899,999)

Step 3: Multiply that figure by 100 to convert to percentage. (13,899,999 x 100 = 1,389,999,900)

Step 4: Round up to the nearest million (1,400,000,000)

Answer: The price increased by 1,400,000,000 % or 1.4 billion %
Answers 2-5: (2) The price of Detective Comics increased by 1,379,999,900 % or 1.4 billion % (3) Superman No. 1 increased by 670,999,900 % or 700 million % (4) All-American Comics No. 16: 429,999,900 % or 430 million % (5) Detective Comics No. 1: 404,999,900 % or 405 million % 

Learning Tips: Breaking Down a Complex Problem

Game: Geometrical Jumbles

In the Dog House

Pediatricians are giving hot dogs the cold shoulder. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released a new policy statement on choking, with hot dogs topping the list of worst offenders. The AAP would like to see "choking hazard" labels on hot dogs, hard candy and other high-risk foods. The docs also called on manufacturers to reconsider shapes, sizes and textures when making food products for kids.
Get NostalgicI'm an Oscar Mayer Wiener

Activity Ideas - Language Arts
Oral Presentations

Together with your child, imagine that she is one of the few experts who knows about the dangers of hot dogs. In order to save the cafeteria staple, she needs to write a presentation that alerts people to the problem and provides a solution.


  • Write a thesis statement that clearly identifies the problem. (Hot dogs are a choking hazard.)
  • Use statistics and expert evidence to bolster your argument. (Choking is the most common cause of death for kids aged 1 to 5. / Hot dogs account for 17% of food-related asphyxiations in children under age 10. / Toys are labeled as choking hazards but foods are not. )
  • Discuss the details of the problem, provide background information, and outline cause and effect of the problem.
  • Research ways that hot dogs could be made safer. Come up with a realistic solution. 
  • Develop an argument for the solution. Support your argument with data or other research.
  • Explain why your solution will work best.


  • Summarize significant points that you wanted to make. (Hot dogs are choking risks due to factors including their shape, size and texture.)
  • Reiterate the problem and review key ways your solution will do away with it. 

Learning TipsDeliver Presentations on Problems and Solutions

Nap Happy

Falling asleep on the job may not be so bad. A recent study indicates that a midday nap may help people learn and perform better later in the day. Participants took a test in the morning and again in the afternoon. Half napped for 90 minutes in between. The sleepers showed a 10% increase in learning ability, while the group that stayed awake had a 10% reduction in their learning capacity.

Activity Ideas - Math
Survey what a midday nap does for you and your family or friends. Divide group in half. Set aside a vacation week or two weekends. 

  • Day 1: Have everyone perform a task during a set amount of time. 
  • Record data: Measure performance speed, reported level of difficulty, number of correct answers, etc.  
  • Naptime! Half the group naps at noon for 90 minutes.
  • Task No. 2: Have both groups do a task similar to the morning's exercise for the same amount of time.
  • Record and compare data: Did nappers do better than non-nappers the second time around? If so, how significant is the difference?
  • Day 2: Repeat survey with second group napping. Record and compare data.
  • Conclusion: Evaluate your findings. Were they similar to the researchers' study? 

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