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Three Dog Night

by Early Math Counts

While walking the pugs the other night at the park, huddling and shivering with other dog owners/lovers, someone mentioned that they love to sleep with their dogs in the winter because they are like mini heaters designed to keep them warm.  That brought up a discussion about the expression Three Dog Night.  Disclaimer I know the band Three Dog Night but never knew that it was also an expression.  News to me.

Did you know that a Three Dog Night refers to a night so cold that you need three dogs in the bed to keep you warm?  It comes from Australian Aboriginal custom of keeping dogs in the bed in order to stay warm.

Who knew?

I was thinking that it would be a really great idea to explore expressions that are used in everyday life that are also mathematical.

This winter, when discussing the weather, rather than having children simply say, “It is cold,” or “It is windy” you could teach them the expression Three Dog Night to describe a really, really cold night.  Using variations of this, a cold night might be a One Dog Night, and a really cold night might be a Two Dog Night.  These gradations of cold and relativity will support the idea that there are measures of cold – there is cold, colder, and coldest.

It might be nice to provide a visual representation of this concept as well.  You could use stuffed dogs and the children can pick one, two, or three dogs to represent the coldness (they may even choose a No Dog Night if it ever warms up).  If you use a weather chart, you could use dog stickers and the children can put one, two, or three dogs to represent the weather.

Let us know how it goes.  Take a picture and I will post it:)




Dogs in the Bed

8 Replies to “Three Dog Night”

  1. Hi Jen!

    Who knew where the expression originally came from! My first thought was the old rock band \”Three Dog Night\” – We live in a building in which no pets are allowed but I have neighbors who might let me take a picture for the blog

    I know the class will enjoy this blog and will send pictures for the blog

  2. Hi Jen!!

    I love the way you found how you can use dogs as an expression. Three dog Night can be used to describe how cold it is, is a very unique saying, and using Two Dog Night as a cold night to follow up is wonderful. It reminded me of the expression it\’s raining cats and dogs. Where it is used to say it\’s raining really hard. But what I love the most is how you Incorporated math with the subject dogs to represent the weather, I think that is a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing it!

  3. Hi Jen,
    I like this article is one of the great ideas for the teachers or parents to teach kids in both math and science theme by using animals. Since children living in a cold weather in Chicago, they are able to relate to their everyday experiences. Also, the children could discussion this expression about mathematical and refers to a night that so cold by using a Three Dog Night. Or, we could teach kids about what kinds of the animals living in the cold weather.

  4. This idea did not appeal to me as much as the other activities. Although, I did like the dog stickers activity. That will help a lot with math concept. I think that it might be a good idea to maybe mention to them this short story and then connecting the mathematical connection to the saying \”three dog night\” and then coming up with other ideas to recreate an activity based off of this. For example, connecting it to the book 10 monkeys. The book is great for showing math to children because it starts off with 10 monkeys jumping on the bed, then one by one continue to fall until there are no more monkeys left on the bed.

    1. Using children\’s books and songs (Like Monkeys Jumping on the Bed) are practical and straightforward ways to introduce early math concepts. Even though putting dogs in the bed may not appeal to you, the idea that dogs are warm and cuddly (you could liken it to stuffed animals) is relevant and makes sense to children. Dogs are familiar as is being cold in Chicago. So if we are looking for relevant and meaningful ways to help children make connections – this may be one way to do it.

  5. I really like this article . I like how the article in told in a story form and how it can be related to different things

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