# Storybook Guide Based on Songju Ma Daemicke’s “Cao Chong Weighs an Elephant”

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## Activity Summary

Use this storybook guide with the book “Cao Chong Weighs an Elephant.”
Many public libraries have this book. This book is a Mathical Award winner.

In ancient China, the emperor gave young Chong’s father the gift of an enormous elephant, an animal no one in his city had seen before. People wondered how much the elephant weighed. How could they measure its weight? No one knew. But then Chong whispered a clever solution to his father. It involved a boat, measurement scales, and some rocks. The method worked and Chong was applauded for his intelligence and ingenuity.

#### Words to Learn

MATH WORDS
weight, mass, balance, enormous, dimensions, combined

OTHER WORDS
ancient, Prime Minister, Wu Kingdom, ambassador, applauded, spectators, jade, jin (a unit of weight), stumps, advisor, honorable, determine, brainstorm, ingenious

From reading the story of how Chong weighed the

• Sometimes, the most direct approach to solving a problem (using a balance scale to weigh the elephant) doesn’t work.
• Solving a problem often requires creativity and non-conventional thinking.
• Chong’s method involved three steps: determining how much the elephant’s weight made the boat sink in the water, putting enough rocks in the boat (without the elephant in it) to sink the boat to the same level, and weighing the rocks.
• Weighing the rocks was easy. The cleverness was in using the rocks as a substitute for the elephant to determine the animal’s weight.
• DISCUSS CHONG’S METHOD OF WEIGHING THE ELEPHANT
How did Chong figure out how the elephant’s weight affected the boat? (He made a line showing how far the boat sank.) Why did Chong put rocks in the boat? (To make the boat sink to the same level as when the elephant was in it.)