Math Investigations

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Chapter 1

Part 1: Home and School Investigation

Send the Letter to Family (PDF file) home with each child. Once all of the children have brought in their pictures, have them put the pictures on their desks. Each child's picture with the greater number should be placed above the picture with the lesser number. If the numbers are the same, the child can put the pictures side-by-side. You can quickly check each child's work by walking around the room.

Part 2: Be an Investigator

A good time to do this investigation is after Lesson 2 on numbers 1 through 9.


  • six individual pictures cut out from the Investigator Worksheets of each group (of two students) and some extra pictures
  • crayons

Introducing the Investigation

Take one of the pictures of the child from the Investigator Worksheet. Next to the pants the child is wearing, use crayons to color a little area of blue, a little area of green, and a little area of brown. Next to the shirt the child is wearing, use crayons to color a little area of yellow and a little area of red.

Show students the picture of the child that you created. Tell the children that the child has three pairs of pants, a blue pair, a green pair, and a brown pair. The child also has two shirts to wear with the pants, a yellow shirt and a red shirt. Explain to the children that their job is to figure out how many different pant/shirt combinations can be made. Tell the children to color in one of the pictures to show each combination. Leave the picture pinned up in the classroom for everyone to see.

Put the children in pairs to work on the investigation. Provide students with the Investigator Worksheet (PDF file).

Doing the Investigation

Most children will need to color in the pictures as many ways possible in order to figure out the solution. Be sure to have extra pictures on hand for children who need more.


There are six possible combinations.

  • blue pants/red shirt
  • blue pants/yellow shirt
  • green pants/red shirt
  • green pants/yellow shirt
  • brown pants/red shirt
  • brown pants/yellow shirt

Extending the Investigation

Have the children try this with other color possibilities, for example, four color possibilities for the shirt and two color possibilities for the pants.

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 1