Long before I had three kids, and long before I ever started homeschooling, I had the amazing opportunity to work in the classroom of the best first grade teacher ever in the world. Okay, so she is also my mom...and I'm not going to even pretend to not be bias....
But one thing I learned from her that I've carried with me since then is that learning is best done when it's fun- that kids will always learn best when they're enjoying it.
One of the things she did every year with her class was M&M Math. (She actually had a book that she used, but I couldn't find it for this...)
I have used this with Isaiah, and I'm so excited to get to introduce this to my sweet-toothed little ladies now.
If you're anything like I was, you're probably thinking, "What in the world does candy have to do with math??" Well, let me let you in on a little secret. You can pretty much use anything to learn or teach. Here are a few ways we are using M&Ms...
(Skittles are fun, too...or Fruit Loops!)
2. Graphing. For this one, I did print some graphing pages off the internets, but they would be pretty simple to make, too. This one is great for Izzy and Isaiah, who is in third grade. Both kids get a small cup of candies. Izzy put the candies directly on the page in the designated color spaces, but Isaiah counts the colors and draws on the page. Both ways create a bar graph for the kids to see which color they have the most of.
8. Shapes and Pictures. The kids are always a big fan of making pictures out of everything, and candy is no exception. They used them to make very 8-bit type of pictures. (I actually used this once for a Mario party we had for Isaiah. The kids got a sort of "color by number" type of paper, but they used M&Ms to fill in the spaces instead of coloring them. The result was either a Mario or a Luigi. It was so fun for them, and you can check that out right here! (Mario Party)
The truth is, any time we mix up our school work and do something out of the ordinary, my kids always walk away understanding the concepts much better, and they never seem to forget that lesson.
I'm sure there are tons of other ways you can use M&Ms in math lessons. Get creative (and share those ideas with me!)