Monday, November 9, 2009

MATH with Harry Potter: High Finance at Gringotts

I lead a Harry Potter youth group at our church (that's right, at our church) and this is one of many activities we've done. A limited budget forces us to be creative.

TIP: it helps to spread out the tasks over a few weeks.
NOTE: when finished,
these make great gifts!


Making Coins with a Basic Salt Dough Recipe

  • 1 cup of fine salt
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of water (may add more)
  • In a large bowl, combine the salt and the flour
  • Make a well in the salt/flour mixture and add the water
  • Knead until smooth and shape into a ball
  • When not in use, wrap in plastic or store in an airtight container
  • HINT: To get a softer dough you can add more flour. Adding more salt will lend a more granulous affect. Note that the wetter the dough, the longer it will take to dry.
  • Roll the dough out on a flat surface to 4 mm thick. Using three different bottle cap sizes (S,M,L), cut out "coin shapes". Stamp/etch the largest coins with a G, medium ones with an S and the smallest ones with a K. Do the same for the other side. You may also etch the rims of the coins using the tines of a fork. Air dry for about a week.
  • Using acrylic or spray paints, paint the coins in the following colors: gold = galleons, silver = sickles, and copper metallic = knuts. Paint one side first & let dry. Then paint the other side.
  • You will need to make enough of each coin for each child (suggestion: 10 galleons, 34 sickles, 29 knuts). Do not worry about maintaining perfect shapes for your coins. They're supposed to look uneven and imperfect.
  • Store the coins in drawstring organza/cloth bags (we got ours from the Dollar Store) for each child.
Math with Harry

We printed the following exercise on parchment-like paper, rolled it up scroll-style, tied it with a string, and handed one to each child with a quill (pencil with a long feather glued to it).

If there are
17 sickles to a galleon
29 knuts to a sickle

1)How many sickles in 15 galleons?

2) Convert 5 galleons, 12 sickles into knuts.

3) How much change would Harry get if he paid for 9 galleons, 16 sickles and 29 knuts worth of candy with a 10 galleon pouch?

4) If Honeydukes was having a 20% off sale today and Harry bought 5 galleons worth of candy, how much would his total be in Sickles, excluding sales tax?

5) Plagued with guilt, Harry donated 51 sickles, 986 knuts to Herminone's E.L.F.S. cause. This is the equivalent of ________ galleons.



1) 255

2) 2813

3) None

4) 68

5) 5

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