The Truth about the Tooth-fairy

At breakfast today, Rory asked me: “Why don’t I get $10 a tooth like my friend Gavin?”.

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Well, after I finished choking on my coffee, I tried to think of some reasons that were more kid-friendly than my initial thought: “their tooth-fairy is on drugs!”. Here are some of the ones I thought about:

  • The tooth-fairy likes Gavin better?
  • Your teeth are smaller?
  • Your teeth aren’t as clean?
  • Your tooth-fairy is paid less than their tooth-fairy?
  • Your teeth are too young / too old?
  • Your tooth-fairy didn’t pay attention in math class and doesn’t know the difference between a toonie and a ten dollar bill?????????

Then I realized this was a teachable moment….a math teachable moment!

Rory can count by 10’s, so I asked him to figure out how much money Gavin will get for all of his teeth. Well, there are 20 baby teeth and if Gavin gets $10 for each one:

10, 20, 30, 40…. He’ll get a whopping TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS!

Now Rory averages $1 a tooth, so how much does he get?

1, 2, 3, …TWENTY DOLLARS! How do I explain to a 6 year old, the huge discrepancy?!

Now Rory did get $2 each for his big teeth. So now I asked him to count by 2’s and see how much he would receive if all of his teeth were worth $2:

2, 4, 6, 8,……$40…a little better. But nothing compared to $200. Rory is now pretty convinced that the tooth-fairy isn’t playing fair!

Oliver lost a tooth as well, but he got $5 for it. It was pulled out, so we reasoned that the tooth-fairy paid extra because the root was still attached! Well now, think of all the extensions! _DSC0181 (2)

  • If you have 1 tooth pulled and lose the rest normally at $1 a tooth, how much money will you get?
  • If you had 2 teeth pulled and 2 big teeth for $2 and the rest of the teeth for $1, how much money will you get?
  • What is the difference between the different options?
  • Would you prefer to get 2 teeth pulled or 5 teeth paid at $2? Why?!

Think of all the variations! This is real-life, authentic, familiar, exciting and the kid is financially invested!! What’s more motivating than that?! And what are they doing?

PRE-ALGEBRA IN GRADE ONE!!!

Of course, after all this, my husband pipes in, that Rory should figure out what percentage of Gavin’s money he is receiving? And I of course, wanted to extend that even further, to see if there is a correlation between that, and the difference in the salaries, of their tooth-fairy compared to ours.  Then I thought that might be a little too advanced for Grade One!

So we had a great math conversation. We covered skip counting, addition, subtraction, pre-algebra, financial literacy and math reasoning all before our pancakes were even eaten! But, I still don’t know how to explain the reason Gavin gets more money! If you have any suggestions, let me know!

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