#Mathsweek Treat: 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!

I plan to have mine on Friday at the end of Maths Week


You will need a small box of mini ‘smarties’ 

(66kcal per box) for each child in the class. 

I usually buy two multipacks containing 20 boxes approximately.

I time this lesson for just after the children’s own lunchtime.


It is important to check if any child 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 practise

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:


Maths Week 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

First Class Maths – Useful Websites

First class have asked me for some useful websites

so that they can practise their maths at home, so here we are:

A very popular game for practising addition

and take away tables is called ‘The Balloon Game’.

Click on this link to find it.

and away we go
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: darwin Bell via Compfight

Another one the children enjoy that helps them

with their learning is Crossing the Swamp .

It is also useful for practising addition and subtraction.


Add Like Mad and its sister site Subtraction Action 

are like gymnastics for the brain.


The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment 

have a number of videos online

to help parents help their child with maths.

Scroll down to view them here.


First and Second class is a window of opportunity

for learning tables.

Knowing one’s tables is a skill which one will call upon 

through out one’s life.

Read about the importance of tables here.

You can find other maths websites for students from 1st-6th class here.

Parent Request: How to subtract using the ‘renaming’ or ‘regrouping’ method?

308.365  Budget
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: rbbaird via Compfight

Sometimes parents say:

‘When we learned  how to ‘takeaway’ in school

we learned it a different way;

we ‘borrowed’ and ‘paid back’.

Could you show us how subtraction

is taught in schools these days?


This animation may be of some help:

How to subtract by ‘regrouping’ or ‘renaming’.

Click on this link to find out more.

Parent Request: How to help my child with Maths

What's In My (Dice) Bag?
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Alan via Compfight

Parents have been asking how

to help their children with Maths.

Using ‘concrete objects’ as above is helpful.

Slowly but surely, from First Class up

you could teach your child

these mental maths strategies.


Tables are important too.

Click here to read about 

the importance of learning tables.

‘Funky Mummy’: Online Game for revising addition of two, one digit numbers: 1st Class approximately.

Golden Mask of Psusennes I
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Tjflex2 via Compfight

We recommend this game. 

It is called ‘Funky Mummy’.

Add the two numbers together

and see what happens next.

We think this will make you laugh.

We always do!

BM217 Egypt at The Met
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Charles Tilford via Compfight

If you get the sums right,

you get to write your name

in hieroglyphics.

Student Favourite: ‘Crossing The Swamp’ – Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication & Division Practice

Spinning Objects d_02-0444
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Widianto Nugroho via Compfight

‘Crossing the Swamp’ from BBC.co.uk


You also can ‘Add Like Mad’,

try some ‘Subtraction Action’

and practise multiplication 

here or here.


Table Races – Speed Tests for Addition/Subtraction/Multiplication&Division Practice.

Photo Credit: Rich Bowen via Compfight

‘Addition Speed Test’ from Mr Myers.org

‘Timed Subtraction Test’ from Mr. Myers.org

‘Multiplication Speed Test’ from Mr.Myers.org

‘Division Speed Test from Mr Myers’.org


‘Tables Challenge’ from The School Hub.ie

and there’s MORE!