Fun Chocolate Candy Math Ideas

Nicole Sanchez on

I’m not sure who likes chocolate math more: me or my students? Either way it’s a win-win! I like to use small chocolate candy like m&ms to teach my students basic math skills like number sense, skip counting, estimation, sorting, graphing, patterns and basic operations. I find adding a bit of candy here and there helps mix it up and makes learning more fun and exciting for my students. The good news is that you can use m&ms just like you use most of your other math manipulatives on a regular basis. Here’s a list of some ideas for how to use m&ms during math to get you started. Just make sure that your students wash their hands and have a clean surface to work on so that they can have a sweet treat when they’re done.

Number Sense: Count out the correct amount of candy to match numbers on flashcards, or use them as manipulatives for ten frames.

Skip Counting: Count a large amount of candy by putting the pieces into groups of 5s or 10s and then skip counting to find the total.

Estimation: Fill a jar with candy. Ask students to estimate how many pieces they think are in the jar. Then count them together as a whole class.

Sorting: Give students a bag of candy and have them sort them based on color into cups, small bowls, or muffin tins.

Graphing: After sorting the candy by color, graph the results. Another fun way to incorporate graphing is to have students survey their friends to see which color is their favorite. Then graph the results of the survey.

Patterns: Use the candy to make AB, ABB, or ABC patterns. To extend this activity, let kids create their own type of pattern and explain the rule to the class or their small groups.

Basic Operations: Use the candy pieces as counters for simple addition or subtraction problems. Or divide up a large amount of candy to count collaboratively in small groups and then add up the total.

Happy teaching,
Nicole Sanchez