From the Author…
The Combiners may be read to students as naive as preschoolers and as “sophisticated” as ninth graders. All that has to be adjusted is the amount of participation required of them and the questions asked of them. Have children pantomime and discuss Motley Crab Adder’s and Sir Crab Multiplier’s actions to stress the “just” combining and combining“neatly” (by 2s, 3s, 4s…) going on. Also, have them pantomime and discuss the related “just” separating and separating “neatly” (into 2s, 3s, 4s…), too, which are dealt with in , the companion book to The Combiners. You may want to read only the story the first time through and then read it again for the pantomiming and discussions.
The questions on selected pages draw out the mathematics in what’s happening in the story and are of varying difficulty. Some are appropriate for all elementary school students; others are better suited to grades 3-6. The story is complete without the questions, so a teacher may choose to ask only some, or perhaps none, of the questions depending on the maturity of their students. A teacher may also make up their own questions to go with the story.
You may want to make transparencies of some of the pictures. After solving the problems that go with some of the pictures, students can create additional problems to go with the pictures and share them with their class, other classes in their school or pen pals at another school. Have them color the pictures, thus focusing their attention even more on what’s happening in the pictures and/or write a new story about the pictures.
Please look in the back of the book for other activities related to The Combiners and use your creativeness to design and tailor them to your students.