Sir Cumference and All the King’s Tens Lesson Plan Activities

by evelynsaenz

Sir Cumference and All the King’s Tens is used as a jumping off point for teaching place value. Lesson plans, activities and games for both classrooms and homeschoolers...

Sir Cumference and Lady Di have invited people from all the surrounding villages to come celebrate King Arthur's Birthday. The numbers are huge and the Knight and his Lady must be sure that they have enough food and other accommodations for all their guests. We will be reading the story Sir Cumference and All the King's Tens: A Math Adventure in order to determine how many guests plan to come as we explore large numbers and how the ten digits of our mathematical system can represent larger and larger numbers.

We will be doing whole group activities and then breaking up into small group rotation centers. Each of the activities will lead toward a growing understanding of large numbers, digits and place value.

Come join Sir Cumference and Lady Di as they plan for a birthday party event of tremendous proportions with guests in the tens, hundreds, thousands, and possibly even millions.

Guessing the Number

Raise your hand to make a guess
Raised Hand
Raised Hand

Guess My Number Transition Game

Mathematical Warm Up to Larger Numbers


Guess My Number is a fun game to play when you need to entertain children for just a few minutes while transitioning to math class. Gather those children who are ready and begin by stating, "I'm Thinking of a Number!" and I can only answer yes or no. I will only call on those children who raise their hands silently.

Many children begin by guessing random numbers. Often children will not listen to each other and repeat numbers already guessed. You might suggest that children ask range questions rather than calling out random numbers such as "Is is greater than 100?" or "Is is between "500 and 1000?"

Once the children have guessed the number, take a few moments to review strategies that worked in finding the number quickly.

Then, whoever guessed the number correctly begins the new round.

Once all the children are gathered and stragglers have joined in you may begin your lesson. Today's math lesson will begin by reading Sir Cumference and All the King's Tens.

Sir Cumference and All the King's Tens

A Royal Math Adventure
Sir Cumference and All the King's Tens: A Math Adventure

Sir Cumference and Lady Di planned a surprise birthday party for King Arthur, but they didnt expect so many guests to show up. How many lunches will they need? And with more gue...

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Numbers on the Chalk Rail

What happens when you rearrange the digits in a number?

Changing the position of the digits in a number will change the value of the number. Often children confuse which place a digit goes or will not line up the digits with their proper place value when adding and subtracting. This activity will help to reinforce the meaning of the digits in their places and which value is represented by these digits.

Make cards on card stock or construction paper with one digit for each card. If you plan to do this activity often you might consider laminating the cards. You can draw the digits or cut them out of colored card stock and paste the numbers on the white card stock sheets.

1. Shuffle the cards and place four digits on the chalk rail.

2. Ask the children to read the number.

3. Have children make the number using their Base Ten Place Value Blocks

4. Now rearrange the digits. Have the children read the new number and make that number with their base ten blocks.

5. Compare the two numbers and talk about the difference between the two numbers. Were they surprised?


Guests at King Arthur's Birthday Party

Which number is larger?
  Display results
Until children understand place value, this type of question is confusing at best.

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Help Lady Di and Sir Cumference Plan for the Party!

Independent Learning Centers

Now break up into small groups to help Lady Di and Sir Cumference plan for King Arthur's Birthday Party. Spend some time discussing what kinds of preparations need to be made for the party. How many people will there be in total? What kinds of foods and how much of each item will they need? Ask the children for suggestions for creating independent learning centers. Create stations around the room.

Possible centers include:


Calculating the number of Guests Coming to the Feast

Using a Calculator in Math Class
You Can Save Money, But Money Can't Save You

1. Calculating the Guests

Sir Cumference and All the King's Tens Guests

How many people will come to the party? A calculator and a copy of Sir Cumference and the King's Tens. The children will re-read the story and use the calculator to try to determine the number of guests expected at the party.

This is the perfect opportunity to work in pairs. Encourage children to share their reasoning for determining the number of guests. Some children may find it helpful to use Unifix Cubes when calculating the number of guests. Others may find that an abacus helps.

Have the children write about how they derived their solution in their math journals. Journaling helps the children to think clearly about the way they used math to determine the solution to the problem.

After a few minutes, gather the children and allow volunteers to explain their answers and how they arrived at them.


Calculating the Guests coming to the Feast
Texas Instruments TI-30X IIS 2-Line Scientific Calculator

The Texas Instruments TI-30X IIS 2-Line Scientific Calculator features two-line display and other advanced features users get with the TI-30x IIS. The display shows the equation...

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2. Making the punch.

Punch from Sir Cumference and All the King's Tens

Lady Di has decided to make punch for the party. Create a recipe for punch. Multiply the ingredients and determine how much of each kind of juice is needed to provide drink to all guests.

Note: Each guest will drink two 8-oz glasses of juice. One recipe should make one gallon of punch. How many gallons will be needed to serve all the students in your class? How many gallons will be needed to serve all the people attending King Arthur's Birthday Celebration?

One group of students might like to make one of the recipes for the class. Check the time before you start. Measure the ingredients carefully and mix up your punch. Once the punch is in the pitcher, check the time again. Then calculate how long it would take to make enough punch for King Arthur's Guests.

The Knight's Punch

Punch for the Medieval Feast

Erecting the Tents

Medieval Tents
Julius Caesar (100-44 BC) Receiving the Germanic Ambassador, C.1450 (Vellum)
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3. Putting up the Tents!

Tents from Sir Cumference and All the King's Tens

 Using graph paper determine how much space is needed to accommodate all the guests. Each guest needs one square of space inside the tent. The smallest tent holds 9 people. The next holds 90, the next biggest holds 900 and the largest holds 9000. Then use construction paper or newspaper and tape or glue to create tents large enough to hold all the guests. Note: Rolled up paper can create beams for the corners and sides. Is it possible to create a tent large enough for 9000?

Medieval Tents

Math Materials for Calculating the Size of the Tents
Roselle Vibrant Construction Paper, 50ct, 9 x12 Inches, Dark Brown (CON2191250)

Dark Brown Heavyweight Construction Paper, 50 sheet pack, each sheet 9x12. Ideally suited for arts and crafts and all school projects; exceptional strength and durability allows...

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School Smart Graph Paper Pads - 1/2 inch Rule - Pack of 12

Same great 1/2 inch ruled Graph Paper but in 50 sheet pads with chipboard back. 8-1/2 x 11 inches. Sold per dozen pads.

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In the Time of Knights and Ladies

Learning about Medieval Times

The Ramsay Scallop: A Medieval Unit Study
A young knight and his future lady take a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela and meet thousands of people along the way.

Updated: 03/02/2015, evelynsaenz
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Comments on Understanding Place Value

evelynsaenz on 06/14/2013

Thanks, Sandra. I have found that children learn best when lessons are integrated into topics of interest to them.

Sandra on 04/12/2013

Lovely lesson and a great way to incorporate the story, history and math!

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