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Volume 5, Issue 20
November 19, 2007




Do you want to liven up your math lessons and really grab your students’ attention? Read on! In this issue we share some yummy ideas to make everyone’s mouth water. Sweeten up your teaching and watch students learn as you introduce some of our tasty offerings!


Susan LaBella
Editor, Early Childhood Education Newsletter



M&M® Charts -- Mmmmm!
Prepare for each child a graph on a piece of drawing paper. Across the bottom write the colors of M&Ms. On the left side, write numbers 1 to 10. Create a grid of boxes by drawing lines horizontally and vertically. Now give each child a handful of M&Ms. (You might need to remind students not to eat any of the M&Ms until the activity is over.) Let children sort their M&Ms by color and place each in the correct box on their graphs. Then let children use their graphs to answer questions such as Which color has the most M&Ms? Which color has the fewest? For which color did you have no M&Ms? As follow-up activities, you might
-- Invite children to use their M&Ms to create color patterns.
-- Let children use M&Ms to form number groups. They can solve simple number problems using the groups.
When you’ve completed the M&M activities, invite everyone to enjoy their M&M snacks.
Note: Instead of creating your own chart, you might provide students with a copy of this chart. If you cannot print the page in color, before copying you will want to write the names of the colors below the M&Ms at the bottom of the page.

Cover a large box with white paper and cut a hole (for a mouth) in it. Have children help you draw eyes, a nose, and other facial features to make a Math Monster. Next, on index cards write numerals and place them in a pile. Have children practice their counting skills by drawing an index card from your pile, reading the numeral, and feeding the monster the correct number of Skittles, raisins, or cheerios. Arrrgh!! If your students are working on simple addition or subtraction, you might choose to reinforce that skill by writing number sentences on the index cards and following the same procedure above. Note: If you can collect enough boxes, provide one for each child and let children create their own Math Monsters.

Prepare the following for each child:

  • a set of six cut-out paper bear shapes; each bear should have a number written on it from 1 to 6.
  • a plastic baggie of 10 gummy bears.
  • a set of six number cards for the numbers 1 to 6.
Then present one or more of these activities for students to do:
--- Invite students to match each of their paper bears to the correct number card. Have students say each number as they go.
--- Have students arrange the paper cut-outs in front of them. Call out a number from 1 to 6. Let students find the correct bear/number and place on it the corresponding number of gummy bears.
--- Read to children The Gummi Bear Counting Book, by L Boegehold (Lorenz Books). Have the class count aloud in unison the numbers on their bears (1 to 6).

Use this activity to provide students with practice counting backward. Give each child a paper napkin and ten (or whatever number you wish) teddy bear crackers. Have children fold their napkins up 1/3 of the way to make the bed. Next children should line up their crackers across the “pillow part” of the bed. Then together say, “There were ___ in the bed, and the little one said, roll over, roll over. Then there were ____.” At that point children can pop one of their crackers in their mouths. Then continue the song. If children prefer, they can simply remove their crackers from the bed and and save them for later.

Purchase some clean french fry holders from a fast-food chain. Place a white label on the inside top of each holder and write on it a number and its corresponding number word. Next cut yellow sponges into “French fries.” Let children count out how many fries they need for each holder.




Check out the following Web sites for additional background and activities.

M&M Math
Use the colorful candies to provide grade-level ideas for four math stations.

Top Ten Recipes
Get the top ten M&M recipes for classroom snacks or parties.

More M&M Math
Here’s a printable graph to use with an M&M math activity.

Orange Slices
Use oranges in your next math lesson -- here’s how.

Ten Apples Up on Top
Use apples for these classroom math activity ideas.