Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chocolate + Fruit Chews = Math

All Candy 50% Off!

These signs scream math. Practical every day uses for math. And, yummy uses to boot!

Halloween two days behind us, stores in our area are posting opportunities to use practical math. 50% off $6.99, 75% off retail, and buy-one-get-two.

Reading math. Writing math. Doing math. Doesn't matter. It's all learning. Everyone gets involved. Here are some of the fun activities we've tried when chocolate and fruit chews present themselves as deals too good to pass up:
  • We purchase two to four types of chocolates and survey anyone who stops by our house :) If we're really feeling generous, we ask the person which type of candy is his or her favorite and then let them eat it. We ask for the empty wrapper and then use the "trash" for our graph.

  • We purchase M&M or Skittles fun packs and hand them out to whomever might want to experience math with us. (Now you know why the neighborhood kids like our house) We count, sort, pattern, add colors (or three for practice with multiple addends), subtract colors (we do that last so we can eat while we subtract), figure percentages and ratios, and even talk probability (what is the probability of choosing a red M&M from the bag?) All in all, it is a fun time for every age.
  • My older children love to use math to determine whether or not they are getting a "sweet" bargain. We figure out cost (If a bag of candy costs $3.99 and the sale is 50% off, what will be pay?) and cost per unit (If the bag of fruit chews costs $2.19 and there are 50 chews per bag, what is the cost of each individual chew?). Mom makes up additional hypothetical scenarios (If you have a $10.00 bill in your pocket and the candy is $3.29 per bag, how many bags could you buy and how much change would you receive from your purchase?) This has leads to conversation about sales tax, taxable and non-taxable items, and cost per pound. Yes, we've weighed candy with a kitchen scale. Very energizing.

These yummy math ideas (and more) are compiled in my Flip Three Pancakes With One Spatula book, a resource I put together after years of hands-on math activities. Yes, my children love to eat their math. Stop by my website and click on the Flip Three Pancakes page. You will find lots of resources. ENJOY!

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