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Author, Illustrator Matt McElligott Visits Central Square Students

Students of Hastings-Mallory Elementary School were recently visited by author and illustrator Matt McElligott.

Riley O’Hern learns a little something about math, money and story writing from author Matt McElligott.
Riley O’Hern learns a little something about math, money and story writing from author Matt McElligott.

McElligott read his book “The Lion’s Share” to the second and third grade students, a book about math, desserts, animals and competition.

In the story, jungle animals are invited to dine with the King Lion.

As the cake is passed around for dessert, each animal takes so much that there is none left for the King.

The tiny ant offers to make up for it by baking the King another cake, just for him.

Then, each of the other animals continue to claim they will bake twice as many cakes as the next.

The mathematical concept behind the story is called a geometric series.

McElligott explained this concept by calling up a volunteer. In a hypothetical scenario, he offered the student $1,000 to work for him for one month, up front. Or, the student could choose to take one penny for today’s work, and then McElligott would pay him twice as much as the previous day for 30 days.

The student volunteer, Riley O’hern, was shocked to see how the math played out.

If he had chosen the penny, he would have been more than $10 million richer by the end of the month.

In addition to the story, McElligott also took questions and shared how he became an author and where he gets some of his ideas.