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The Sundae Scoop Author: Stuart J. Murphy Illustrator: Cynthia Jabar Publisher: HarperTrophy Copyright: 2003 ISBN: 0064462501 Number of Pages: 40 Ohio Standards Alignment: Grades 2–4
Children decide how many different sundaes can be made for the class picnic with a given number of ice cream flavors and a given number of toppings. They explore the possible combinations by charting the choices of ice cream and toppings in a tree diagram. As toppings spill and ice cream melts, they investigate the effect on the number of original choices. At the end of the story, the author suggests extensions of the activity and lists other ideas, activities, and related literature for teachers.
Go to: How to Use This Book Highlights and Insights Related ORC Resources Ohio Standards


How to Use This Book

 Introduce the topic of combinations and a simple way of listing them with this story.
 Adding just one or two other possibilities for ice cream flavors or toppings allows students to see the multiplicative effect of combinations. The author removes possibilities in the story to show the reverse of this effect.
 Explore the use of the (vertical) chart in this story to compare/contrast the use of a (horizontal) tree diagram to count possible choices.
 The author suggests other activities such as ordering lunch, making cookies, and getting dressed to show how combinations can apply to other reallife situations that are meaningful for children.


Highlights and Insights

We are faced with the idea of combinations in everyday life  choice of an outfit, possible pizza toppings, etc. This book is a simple and entertaining introduction to the idea of combinations. I would recommend using a horizontal tree diagram instead of the vertical chart in the story because a horizontal diagram is more natural to read. 

Related ORC Resources

Combinations 1: Shorts and Shirts Resource Type: Lessons Discipline: Mathematics Grades: Grades 3–4 Professional Commentary: In this first of two lessons on combinations, students color all possible outfits meeting specified criteria. They begin by predicting how many different outfits there will be.... Pizza, Pizza! 3: PizzaTopping Combinations Resource Type: Lessons Discipline: Mathematics Grades: Grades 3–5 Professional Commentary: In this third of three lessons related to pizza, students use topping cutouts to determine how many different combinations of two toppings there are from among four possible pizza toppings. An activity sheet, suggestions for assessment, lesson extensions, and questions for teacher reflection are included.... NAEP Assessment Item, Grade 4: Solve problem involving combinations Resource Type: Assessments Discipline: Mathematics Grades: Grades 2–5 Professional Commentary: Students must list the nine combinations or pairs of elements from two 3element sets. This constructedresponse question is a sample test item used in grade 4 in the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress (see About NAEP).... ODE Assessment Item, Grade 3: Combinations of Three Shirts and Two Hats Resource Type: Assessments Discipline: Mathematics Grades: Grade 3 Professional Commentary: Students are asked to list all possible combinations of three different shirts with two different hats. This shortanswer question is a sample item used in the 2005 Ohio Grade 3 Achievement Test (see Overview of Ohio's Assessment System)....


Ohio Standards

Data Analysis and Probability StandardBenchmarks (34) G. Identify and represent possible outcomes, such as arrangements of a set of up to four members and possible combinations from several sets, each containing two or three members. Grade Level Indicators (2) 8. Use physical models and pictures to represent possible arrangements of 2 or 3 objects. Grade Level Indicators (3) 10. Use physical models, pictures, diagrams and lists to solve problems involving possible arrangements or combinations of two to four objects. Grade Level Indicators (4) 13. List and count all possible combinations using one member from each of several sets, each containing 2 or 3 members; e.g., the number of possible outfits from 3 shirts, 2 shorts and 2 pair of shoes. 

