- After you finish the story, revisit the text and ask students if they noticed a pattern in the beginning of the story. (For example, guide students through a picture walk of the multiplying seeds.) How many seeds did Jack eat and bury during the first few years? (He would eat one and bury one, and the next fall he would get two seeds.) When did this pattern change and what happened? (When Jack decided to bury both seeds instead of eat one, he got four seeds the following fall.)
- Ask, “When Jack buried three seeds the next year, how many seeds did the plant produce? How do you know?” Encourage students to draw pictures or write equations to solve the problem. (The number of seeds planted results in double the seeds grown. Or, x = 2y, where x is the number of seeds grown and y is the number of seeds planted.) Use chart paper or a document camera to model this by showing the numbers on a horizontal T-chart: 1 x 2 = 2; 2 x 2 = 4; 3 x 2 = 6; 4 x 2 = 8; and so on. Introduce the multiplication formula, based on your students’ level of understanding.
- Walk through the story again, asking students to predict how many seeds Jack will grow the next year. For example, use the T-chart to show that Jack plants 3, grows 6 and eats 1. Then, the next year, he plants 5, grows 10 and eats 1, and so on. Help students discover the repeating pattern of doubling the number planted and subtracting one (__ x 2 – 1). Ask, “How does this pattern change when Jack has to feed his wife and child?”
- Remind students that when disaster strikes Jack and his family and they are left with only 10 seeds, he does not get discouraged. Why? Challenge students (as a class, in groups or pairs, or independently) to figure out how many seeds will be produced the following year if Jack plants 10 seeds. Have them share their illustrations and problem-solving methods. Point out that when numbers get really large, it is sometimes helpful to draw a picture or find a pattern. Encourage students to recognize the pattern from one year to the next (e.g., planted 10, grew 20, ate 1; planted 19, grew 38, ate 1).