Thursday, November 5, 2009

Got Halloween Candy?

Halloween may be over, but there are lots of fun things you can do with all that leftover candy, other than eat it like I have.

If you want to talk about graphs and graphing, candy is your friend! Talk about motivation! Every kid in your class will work their little behinds off if you tell them they get to eat it after they are done if their behavior is appropriate and they follow directions.

I noticed that when I broke into my bag of mini Tootsie Pops, the colors were in layers, so I wondered if there was the same amount of each color.

Haven't you ever wanted to know if they give you an equal amount of every variation in a bag. Is there the same amount of colors in each little fun pack of Skittles? What about the whole entire package? Are there more Milky Way bars that Snickers bars in a package of chocolate candy? Do they give you the same amount of Milk Duds in each little box?

Are you seeing where I'm going with this? I bet your kids are pretty curious too!

M&Ms and Skittles are good for small individual graphs. They come in those small "fun size" packages (why are they called fun size anyways?) and can easily be put directly on a graph or colored in.

But it also might be fun to get down and dirty. I'm talking buy a bunch of those huge bags of mixed candies, create a graph with tape on your floor, and dump and sort! A few of my fellow colleagues did this with their classes this week, and the kids all announced it was the most fun they had ever had done at school.

You're probably thinking of creating more bar-like graphs, but if you have 4th grade or older, challenge them to come up with a proportionally correct pie-graph. It could be done individually with small candies, but it, again, would be a lot more fun if the class made a huge one on the floor. Don't give them too many pointers, let them think about it, but be sure to have lots of string and masking tape on hand. I'm not going to tell you the answer, so go try it out yourselves and see what you come up with!

Creating a graph can teach about a million different things. Okay fine, maybe not a million, but a lot.

Here are a few ideas:
-Make addition problems (green skittles + purple skittles)
-Subtraction (I had 5 purple skittles and I ate 2, how many left?)
-Comparison subtraction (how many more green skittles than purple skittles)
-Fractions (what fraction of the skittles are green?)
-Percetages (what percent of the skittles are green?)
-And I bet you can think of lots more!

See, candy might not be good for your health, but it sure can be useful in brain development! Okay fine, I'm pushing it, I know!

Homeschoolers Hack
If your kids collected candy, then there is no point in going out and buying more. Try having them sort it. Don't tell them how (other than not by each type of candy, mixed groups is a must), just let them come up with their own system, but require justification for each grouping. You could graph by brand also. Look on the back of the wrappers, where the copyright symbol is and see what brand it is (i.e. Mars, Hershey's, etc.). Or do some research and see what company makes what. Then see which brand of candy seems to be the most popular for people to give out. (And do share your results please!)

*Photo by respres' on Flickr.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

A great "after-lunch" activity! : ) Thx.