CA: Please, Malese!

Classroom Activities for Please, Malese!

1. Discussion:

a.What do you think of the way Malese behaves?

b. How does Malese manage to turn a half bottle of water into a half bottle of rum? (See Math activity, below.)

c.Who gets the cake in the end, do you think? Malese? Or the cat?

2. Math Activities: Fractions – In this activity, have different students act the roles of Malese, Bouki, Zwazo, and two other merchants.

a. Take 5 plastic, gallon milk bottles. Fill one (“Malese’s jug”) half up with water. Fill the others completely and add red Kool-Aid (or some bright-colored Kool-Aid) to them. Label the Kool-Aid bottles from 1-4.

b. Now have ‘Bouki’ pour Bottle 1 into the Water-only bottle (“Malese’s jug”). Shake it up (“Swirl and twirl” it behind your back like Malese!) and then pour half of Malese’s back into Bottle #1 (Bouki’s bottle).

c. Do the math: Malese’s bottle is now 1/2 pure Kool-aid and 1/2 water, which = ONE HALF (50%) KOOL-AID. (This should be visible from the color, and also possible to taste.)

d. Repeat (b) using Zwazo’s Bottle #2 and Malese’s bottle. Do the math again: Malese’s bottle is now 1/2 pure Kool-Aid plus 1/4 water and 1/4 Kool-Aid, which = THREE FOURTHS(75%)KOOL-AID.

e. Repeat (b) again using Bottle #3. Do the math: Malese’s bottle is now 1/2 pure Kool-Aid plus 3/8 Kool-Aid and 1/8 water which = SEVEN EIGHTHS (87.5%) KOOL-AID.

f. Repeat (b) again using Bottle #4. Do the math: Malese’s bottle is now 1/2 pure Kool-Aid plus 7/16 Kool-Aid and 1/16 water, which = 15/16 (93.75%) KOOL-AID.

g. Discuss: Will Malese ever be able to get 100% Kool-Aid? Why not? (Remember, and have students act out, the question: If you take a stride across the room that is equal to one half the distance between you and the wall, will you ever reach the wall?)

Which merchant was most cheated by Malese? What mixture is left in his/her bottle?

3. Math Activities: Volume – Discuss weight versus volume (as in the load of baskets on the donkey.)Have children bring in objects that are large but light, or small but heavy. Ask: What weighs more, a ton of feathers or a ton of lead?

4. Writing: There is lots of colorful language in this book: “as ugly as a blister,” or “as mad as boiled owls.” Can you find any others? Have children make up their own ending for “as ugly as ____” or “as mad as____________”. See Writing Tip #2 for more colorful writing exercises.

5. Literature: Read other trickster tales (Joel Chandler Harris’s Uncle Remus tales, the Anansi the Spider stories, or Native American trickster tales). What makes a trickster character? Why do they live by their wits?:

6. Writing: Could you write your OWN Trickster Tale? See Writing Tips for a guide to writing your own Trickster Tale.

7.  Write to me with your answers or questions – I’d love to hear from you!

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