I wrote earlier about how I used Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s On First?” routine to set up a homophone-writing task (but, of course, my primary goal was to expose my kids to a classic)!
Imagine my delight when I discovered this Abbott and Costello skit over at the delightful The Kid Should See This in which Costello proves that 7 × 13 = 28 in order to get out of paying rent.
What a fantastic way to move from low-level, worksheet land to a place where kids are really thinking — and moving from mere remembering to thinking is my whole deal.
But, Wait, There’s More!
And as with any classic, this video leaves the door open to countless further explorations.
- Naturally, you’ll want students to figure out what the heck Costello is actually doing. How does he keep arriving at the same wrong answer?!
- Students could write and act out their own version. Perhaps the landlord explains all of Costello’s mistakes!
- Your class can try to form their own convoluted math explanations.
- Kids could watch another skit from Abbot and Costello.
- Compare and contrast the skits.
- Judge the two skits based on some specific criteria.
- I’d love for a student to synthesize: why are Abbot and Costello so funny, even decades later. What 🌻 details make them stand out?
- They might venture out into Laurel and Hardy, or The Marx Brothers, or I Love Lucy. Again, students could compare/contrast and then form an opinion about what makes for a great Vaudeville act.
When we start with something interesting, it opens up so many possibilities.