Jellybeans are a must-have manipulative for K-2 math stations in the spring! I always stock up on them when they go on clearance right after Easter. I like to use them to teach skills like number sense, skip counting, estimation, sorting, graphing, patterns and basic operations. They make great manipulatives for many of the activities in my spring math packs too. Here is a list of some of the ways I like to use jellybeans with my students during math time. Just make sure that kids 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 number of jellybeans to match numbers on flashcards, or use them as manipulatives for ten frames.
Skip Counting: Count a large number of jellybeans by putting them in groups of 5s or 10s and then skip counting to find the total.
Estimation: Fill a jar with jellybeans. Ask students to estimate how many they think are in the jar. Then count them together as a whole class.
Sorting: Give students a bag of jellybeans and have them sort them based on color or size into cups, small bowls, or muffin tins.
Graphing: After sorting the jellybeans by color or size, graph the results. Another fun way to incorporate graphing is to have students survey their friends to see which flavor is their favorite. Then graph the results of the survey.
Patterns: Use the jellybeans 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 jellybeans as counters for simple addition or subtraction problems. Or divide up a large number of jellybeans to count collaboratively in small groups and then add up the total.