Amazing Birthday Cards is an activity in which students respond “yes” or “no” to five numbered cards. The teacher uses mathematical patterns to determine the birthdays of these students based on their responses. Students discover the mathematical pattern that enables the teacher to identify the birthdays and if you choose to you can show them that this activity is based upon the base 2 number system. Amazing Birthday Cards never ceases to amaze the students!
(View Actual Pages from the Amazing Birthday Cards Activity)
(42 Math Lessons, Projects, and Games – 438 pages)
(9 Number Sense Lessons and Projects)
Lesson Description: Amazing Birthday Cards is an activity in which students respond “yes” or “no” to five numbered cards and the teacher uses mathematical patterns to determine the birthdays of these students based on their responses. Students discover the mathematical pattern that enables the teacher to identify the birthdays and they come to understand that this activity is based upon the base 2 number system. Comparing our base 10 number system to the base 2 number system also deepens student understanding of our system. Amazing Birthday Cards is an activity that never ceases to amaze the students!
Math Content: Number Patterns, Logic, Base 2 Number System, Other Number Systems
Time Required: 1 Class Period (or small parts of several class periods)
Amazing Birthday Cards includes:
- 1 Amazing Birthday Cards Teacher Notes page
- 5 Amazing Birthday Cards Numbered Activity Cards
- 1 Amazing Birthday Cards Number Pattern worksheet
- 2 Amazing Birthday Cards Mathematics worksheets
- 2 Amazing Birthday Cards Mathematics worksheet Answer Keys
- 2 Amazing Birthday Cards Teacher Tips pages
- 1 Amazing Birthday Cards Cover Sheet 14 pages in all!
Materials Needed: None
Suggested Grade Level: 5th-8th
Teacher Testimonial: Amazing Birthday Cards is an activity I use every year. The students enjoy participating in this activity and are amazed that by simply saying “yes” or “no” in response to the five cards that I hold up, I can tell them their birthdays. I only take a few of the many volunteers I have each day, thereby building up the suspense before I reveal the mathematical basis for my success in the activity. (Some students think that I actually take my class rosters home and memorize 200+ birthdays each year! As if I had time for that!) The Birthday Cards Number Pattern worksheet allows the students to generate the number pattern themselves and try it out on their friends and family.
Enjoy your lesson!!
Mark P. Tully
“My students have been working in base 2, and were so enthusiastic about the Amazing Birthday Cards activity! They loved the “trick”, but they were more excited that they understood how it works. Thanks for sharing your great lessons. I’m excited to use the other lessons I purchased.”
-Patti Woschitz, Dacula Elementary, Dacula, GA
“The Birthday Cards activity amazed my students. They couldn’t believe I could determine their birthdays so quickly. I had some students who just had to figure out how I did it.”
-Debra Whiteside, Oak Hill Middle School, Milledgeville, GA
“My students were excited about doing the Birthday Math activity. It was easy to explain and a fun way to teach math.”
-Laura Emmons, Willow Elementary School, Lakewood, CA