Jack and the Beanstalk – Math Ideas

This week we began the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk.  Today I thought I would share a few of the math activities we have been doing.  They are obvious ideas but perhaps new in the application in this story!  I wanted to take the concepts of “enormous” and “giant”  and bring them to life with math.

The Giant’s Hand and Estimation

  1. I had a super large hand photocopied on paper that we estimated how many beans would fit in the palm of the “giant’s” hand.  Guesses ranged from 4 to 1000.   We counted out exactly how many would fit – which was 114 beans.  They wrote that on the paper.
  2. Next, I asked the students to trace their hands either inside the giant’s hand or on the back.  They estimated how many beans would fit in their paper hand.   They counted the beans and found the answer.
  3. They wrote their answers on their paper hand.

The Giant’s Foot and Non Standard Measurement

I made the giant’s shoe print by tracing a boot and blowing it up on the copier (legal size).  I made two shoe prints for each student.

I had each child cut out two Giant’s shoe prints.  They explored the Giant’s shoe print by comparing it to their own foot size.

I modeled measuring the group time carpet with the Giant’s shoe print.  I then let the children measure different things in the classroom.  They brainstormed a list of things to measure at home.
One student asked if he could measure the Giant’s foot with cubes.  It was 16 cubes long.  He then suggested that we could figure out how many cubes the things we measured were using this information!  Pretty cool!

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  1. Katy says:

    Sally, you are incredible! After reading since I saw you last- I am truly getting to see even more of your passion for your students! You go above and beyond, and I know these children will reap great benefits from your dedication. I look forward to seeing more cool things!

  2. about a girl says:

    Love your creative ideas and your blog! Thanks for sharing.

  3. This is a really cool idea – especially a giant’s hand and estimating. Your students are really lucky!

  4. Thank you Katie Girl!

    @ about a girl – thank you so much for your kind words!

    @ raising a happy child – thank you for such a sweet comment! The children inspire me 🙂 And sometimes they come up with cool ideas!

  5. love this idea – it’s my first time here and I’m hooked. Thanks!

  6. Jenny says:

    I can’t believe that I found this post tonight! Just this week we did a measuring activity where the students made their own “beanstalk” using construction paper. Then they used “magic beans” (small or large lima bean or black beans) to measure their beanstalk and record their findings. I love your ideas!!! We could have a whole weeks worth of math ideas using Jack and the Beanstalk!!!

  7. Love these activities! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Joanne Watts says:

    Such lovely ideas, I will leave this out as continuous provision activities for Reception/ Year 1.

    Thank you,


  9. Sharon says:

    I love how you have connected the activity to the children themselves! Super!

  10. Tracy says:

    Love these simple ideas. I can’t wait to use these later in the year with my Kindy children.

  11. Warenka says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing…. as they say in Spain: “You’re an artist”

  12. Manders says:

    Just what need for my year 1. Thank you for sharing.


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