A Tasty Maths Lesson: A Party for ‘Smarties’

A party for ‘Smarties’

Smarties by Quimby on Flickr

These parties are great fun,
but students have to work for their reward!.

One needs a small box of mini ‘smarties’ (66kcal per box) for each child in the class. I usually buy two multipacks containing twenty boxes approximately. I time this lesson for just after the children’s own lunchtime.

Important to check for any child who is allergic to chocolate.
They can have jellies instead perhaps.

Before the children can eat the sweets
they have to do some work.

Here are some suggestions:

You might want to use just SOME of them!
The activities chosen will depend on the age of the children.

General Observation

Look at the box
Can you find the list of ingredients?

How many ingredients are there?
What are they?

Are you surprised by any of the ingredients?
What do you think red cabbage is used for?
What other ingredients give the colours do you think?
What do you think the beeswax does?
Did you know spirulina is a seaweed? It gives a blue colour.
There is information on the back of the bag about other natural colouring used.

What percentage of these sweets is milk chocolate?
What percentage is the rest of the ingredients?

Who is the manufacturer of these sweets?

What shape is it? (cuboid)
How many faces has it? (6)
How many edges? (12)
How many corners? (8)

Open up the box.
What shapes can you find? How many rectangles are there?

Pour out the contents.
Are the colours of the contents similar to the colours on the box?
How does the size compare?
Estimate the number of sweets in your box.
Now count them.
How close was your estimate?
How many sweets does each child have?
Are there the same number in each box?
Why do you think this happens?

Who had the most sweets in their box?
Who had the least?

Can you work out the average number of sweets in each box.

There are approximately 20 boxes of sweets in each minipack.
Can you estimate how many sweets are in a full minipack?

With a younger class you can practice adding and taking away using the sweets.
There is also potential for talking about
– tens and units
– and sharing/division.

Count the different colours.
How many colours are there?
How many yellow sweets have you in your box.
How many red? pink? orange? green? purple etc.

Lay them out like a pictogram.
Smarties Graph #3
Smarties Graph #3 by Sneeu on Flickr

Which is the most common colour in each child’s box?
Which is the most common colour in all the boxes?
The children can create patterns and pictures with the contents of their box.

And that’s not all!
A Lesson on Probability from ehow.com

Fractions on primaryresources.co

If your class can resist eating the sweets for this length of time you can talk about
– the five senses:
sound (of the sweets rattling in the box)
and smell (there isn’t one.. initially at any rate!)
– Words to describe the
sensation of the sweets dissolving or crunching in the mouth.
Sometimes too there are jokes or riddles on the back of the box.

Music Potential for work on ‘composition’
using voice and sweets in their box as a percussion instrument.

You could also talk about
the journey the sweets will make through the digestive system.
and the job saliva does in the digestion process
How long can you make a sweet last in your mouth?

Mindful of healthy eating concerns I restrict giving out sweets to twice in the year:

Once before the Halloween midterm,

when the class earn a ‘Party for ‘Smarties”

as ‘Golden Time’ for hard work and good behaviour.

We will also have a pirate themed treasure hunt in the Summer term where the ‘treasure’ will be edible.

‘All you need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt’.

Charles M. Schulz

10 thoughts on “A Tasty Maths Lesson: A Party for ‘Smarties’

  1. I think we could learn a lot from food: fruit and pizza could teach us fractions.

    We could eat in Maths class every day.

    I’d like that.

  2. Thanks for your kind comments, Nicole, Aoife and Cian. I’m glad you enjoyed class.

    I must bring in some fruit when we are learning about fractions. What a good idea. Fruit is healthier than pizza 😉 and cold pizza mightn’t be too tasty.

  3. Hi AK,

    Well if you remember we checked if anyone was allergic to chocolate before we did this class 😉

    If anyone was allergic to chocolate, I would have given them jelly babies and hope they weren’t allergic to jellies.

    Do you think that would work?

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