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Sunday, February 8, 2015

3 Easy Math Lessons With M&Ms

Involving all five senses is truly the way to get to deep learning. I came up with a few connected lessons that activate all the senses and get their whole brains working. M&Ms are a convenient, cheap, easily available manipulative that you can find in any grocery or convenience store. The colors really catch the eyes of the children, and when they know they're going to get to enjoy a few yummy chocolates when the lesson is over, it makes learning that much sweeter. I don't like to use absolutes when I describe my lessons, but ALL my kids were engaged in these activities. Here are 3 things you can do with one bag of M&Ms.


With a handful of M&Ms, students were told to sort them. Since it's so close to Valentine's Day, I like to use one of my heart sorting mats, like the one below. You can print it out and laminate it for all kinds of math activities.

The children were told they would be allowed to eat one M&M from each group when they were finished They were also asked to try and spell color words during the activity.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.MD.B.3 - Classify objects and count the number of objects in each category


After they sorted the M&Ms, I asked them which group had the most, which group had the fewest, and if there were any equal groups. Since each child had a different amount, it was fun for the kids to talk to each other about their different answers.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.CC.C.6 - Compare Numbers


We read The M&M's Addition Book, by Barbara Barbieri McGrath, to introduce some new Math vocabulary, such as addend, sum, and equation.

I don't read the whole book to the students; I don't think it's necessary, and it's a little high-level for Kindergarten. I usually just read about a quarter of the book. This sets up the idea that we are going to use M&Ms for adding. When I do this lesson, I read the book while the students are on the rug, and THEN they do the first two activities. After that, we do addition, using two regular six-sided dice. I told the children to only use two different colors of M&Ms to keep it simple. They would roll the dice, and take the number represented on one die from one color, and the other die from another color, and add them together. This gave them lots of exercise in reading the numbers on the dice, counting out the candies, and then doing the addition. They barely notice that their lessons are being reinforced! You can use dice with numerals or dice with pips, depending on the needs of your students.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.OA.A.1 - Understand addition, and understand subtraction

Have a wonderful week, and happy Valentine's Day!

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