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MathBait™ Multiplication

The Strange Flowers

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The perfect place to begin your journey towards multiplication. In this initial warm up, students are presented with an Alice in Wonderland type story to inspire them to think about different ways to count.

This warm up pairs great with our activity: My Flower Patch.


Resource Type

Warm Up

Primary Topic

Skip Counting







Have you heard of Alice in Wonderland? If not, that's okay. It's the tale of a young girl who followed a rabbit down a hole to find a magical world of talking caterpillars, a grinning cat, and an evil queen. If you get the chance to read it you should. But... you should know one chapter was lost in the sea of Alice's tears. There aren't many of us left who know the true tale. Lucky for you, I'm one of the few! I'll tell it to you too. Although, it might sound a bit crazy if you don't know about counting. You can count right? Wonderful! Well what are we waiting for, let's begin.

On her journey, Alice came across a field of flowers. They were beautiful! There were yellow flowers and blue flowers and purple flowers and red flowers and orange flowers and even colors you've never even heard of or thought about. As she lay down in the field she began to count the dayflowers. 1-2-3... Just then she heard something, no someone, and they were counting too!

Image of a dayflower. A blue flower with two petals

She looked around the field but didn't see another soul. Starting again, she counted, "1".

"2" she heard.

"No not two!" Alice called out. "This is the first flower I have counted. I really must ask that you stop, you are going to make me lose my place." Brushing it off, she continued. "2".

"4" the voice sung.

"Now this is really getting to be ridiculous. I have not counted four flowers, I have counted only two! That one there, that is flower number 3."

"6". The number rang through the field. It was no longer one voice but a whole chorus singing out.

Alice had enough. She began frantically looking around to find the voices. Who was calling out these wrong numbers and why? Then she saw it. The dayflower slowly opened its eyes and stared right at her. "8" it said.

"Why won't you let me count?" she asked the dayflower.

"Because you are counting all wrong" the flower said bluntly.

"Wrong? Certainly not! It is you that is wrong! I counted you 3 here, 1-2-3. You stuck your nose in and counted 6. It is you that is wrong!"

Angry, Alice pushed herself up and walked across the field to a new patch of flowers, the beautiful yellow tiger flowers.

A yellow tiger flower with three petals

"Those dayflowers are mad! I'll count you instead." She pointed to the first flower. "1".

"3!" the flower sung.

"Are you batty too? I have just started! You are not 3 you are 1! And that flower over there, that is number 2!"

"6!" the tiger flower said firmly.

Alice huffed. "I have never met such a horrible flower patch before." And with that she stormed away.

Wonderful right? I mean this was an important part of Alice's journey to be lost forever. You are probably wondering why the flowers counted in such a strange way. Or do you already know? Oh look at that, I'm late! I am so sorry to run off but I really must go, I'm sure you can figure it out yourself... Good Luck!

After reading, ask students why they think the flowers counted in such a strange way. It's okay if they aren't sure. In the next activity, My Flower Patch, students will have a chance to dive into this idea more.

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