#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

Jelly Bean Factory – A game that teaches about Data

I met Abi today and promised her I would put up a quick link

to the Jelly Bean Factory Game that we played last year in

2nd Class. It teaches about Data. So here it is:

Jelly Bean Factory Data Game from LearnAlberta.ca

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: maria via Compfight


 You can find more student favourites by clicking on the tag

‘Student Request’ or ‘Student Favourite’ at the top of this post

on the right of the page under ‘Click below to see…’

Following on from ‘Bill’s New Frock’ by Anne Fine: An Interesting Survey



2nd Class, Room 6 have just finished a novel

by Anne Fine called ‘Bill’s New Frock’.


In it, the main character, Bill wakes up one morning

to find that he has changed into a girl overnight.


The story is interesting in that Bill observes

how boys can be treated differently to girls.


Following on from reading ‘Bill’s New Frock’

2nd Class, Room 6 did an interesting exercise

about the jobs that men and women do.


First they listened to the following story:


‘One fine Monday morning,

a parent and child were walking to school.

Suddenly there was a screech of brakes

and an enormous thud.


A car and a motorcycle had collided.

The driver of the car got out

and went to see if the motorcyclist was OK.


Two guards came and an ambulance.

The ambulance driver drove quickly

and brought the motorcyclist to hospital.


The doctor and nurses did their jobs well

and the motorcyclist made a speedy recovery.


The children were asked to draw a picture from the story.

Then they were asked whether

the people in the story were male or female.


Though it is probably of note that there were

sixteen boys and twelve girls in the class that day,

the results were interesting.

                                                                                         Considered by the children to be:

 Character in story                             Male               Female             
 Child  8  20
 Parent  7  21
 Car driver  21  7
 Motorcyclist  26  2
 Guards  26  2
 Ambulance Driver  27  1
 Doctor  25  3
 Nurse  0 28


When the class talked about this afterwards,

they agreed that they had met female doctors,

and guards and male nurses.


Teacher sees a little change since she first

did this survey with an all girls class

twenty years ago. On that occasion the data

looked like this:


 Character in story                             Male               Female             
 Child  0  30
 Parent  0  30
 Car driver  24  6
 Motorcyclist  29  1
 Guards  29  1
 Ambulance Driver  29  1
 Doctor  29  1
 Nurse  0  30


She wonders what the survey would look like

in twenty years time.

Jenny Nimmo’s ‘The Dog Star’ – A Big Hit with 2nd Class Room 6

From ‘The Daily Reader’ newspaper:

“It was confirmed today that of all the Jenny Nimmo books that 2nd Class Room 6 have read that ‘The Dog Star’ is their very favourite. A poll was held in class and these were the results. ‘The Owl Tree’ and ‘Tom and the Pterosaur’ both got one vote each. ‘The Stone Mouse’ received six. But ‘The Dog Star’ was the runaway success with twenty two votes.

Some people felt that perhaps the last book read by the class is always going to do best because it is more recent and clearer in their minds, but supporters of ‘The Dog Star’ said, that though they enjoyed all the Jenny Nimmo books we have read so far, ‘The Dog Star’ was simply the best.

Later in the year, 2nd Class Room 6 are going to read ‘The Snow Spider’ by Jenny Nimmo. This is a challenging read and it will be interesting to see, if ‘The Dog Star’ will be knocked off top position”.


So why was ‘The Dog Star’ so popular?


We agreed that it was about something

a lot of children dream about:

a dog of their own.


But the story is not that straight forward.

There are a lot of difficulties

in the story for Marty

who is the main character.


Her older sister Clare puts her in a very difficult

situation and she doesn’t know whether to

make her sister happy by being mean to

Miss Theresa Tree or make her Dad happy

by being friendly to her.


We found the story



and magical.

We prefer serious books.

For example we preferred the serious

‘Owl Tree’ by Jenny Nimmo

to the ‘Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark’

by Jill Tomlinson, even though it made us laugh.


We ‘made the connection’ between the eight and a half years,

that it takes the light from the Dog Star to reach earth,

and the fact that Marty is eight and a half years old

and that Marty’s Mum went home to God

eight and a half years ago.


Having already read ‘The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark’

we knew about Orion and his belt,

and what the Dog Star was, didn’t need to be explained to us.


Even at the end of the book,

we were left wondering about

‘The Dog Star’.


What was it really?

Where did it come from?


We would give this book ten out of ten

and would recommend it to children

between the ages seven and nine.


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Making Connections: Data & English: Our Favourite Class Novels

This week we have been talking about the class novels we have read:


Jill Tomlinson’s

‘The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark’

‘The Aardvark Who Wasn’t Sure’

and Jenny Nimmo’s

‘The Owl Tree’

and ‘The Stone Mouse’


We talked about the ones we preferred

and why we preferred them better.


First we collected data from the class

to see which book by Jill Tomlinson

2nd Class Room 6 preferred:

‘The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark’

or ‘The Aardvark Who Wasn’t Sure’?



Then we made a bar graph.

Some children were absent

and Teacher got to vote as well.

You can see from the graph that

‘The Aardvark Who Wasn’t Sure’

was our favourite book, by a score of 16 to 12.


Then we collected data to see which

class novel about owls, the class preferred:

Jill Tomlinson’s ‘The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark’

or Jenny Nimmo’s ‘Owl Tree’?


We made a bar graph to show the results.

‘The Owl Tree’ was the winner there.

Once again the score was 16 to 12.


The next day we took a vote,

to collect data for this bar graph

to find out which story by Jenny Nimmo

the class preferred:

‘The Owl Tree’ or

‘The Stone Mouse’?


Teacher got to vote again and

there were less children absent,

so there were 30 in our survey.

‘The Stone Mouse’ was the winner here

by a very close score of 16 to 14.



Niamh said ‘The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark’

was a very funny book that made her ‘laugh out loud’.

So why did the students in 2nd Class Room 6

prefer ‘The Aardvark who wasn’t sure’?


The Aardvark Who Wasn’t Sure’

The children said this was a funny book too

and that they learned lots of new things

about animals who live in the African ‘veldt’.


‘The Owl Tree’

‘The Owl Tree’ was the book children preferred

of the two about owls. 2nd Class Room 6 felt it was

an unusual and serious book and that it was more grown up.


They liked the way Jenny Nimmo

worked a little bit of magic into every day life.


Cian said it gave him ‘mixed feelings’ because predicting

what was going to happen to the tree worried him.


John Paul said he liked the description of the food

that Granny Diamond brought out to her ‘trick or treat’ visitors.


Isabella said that it was interesting

to try and imagine what Mr. Rock looked like.


Fiona said that it was a good book to help

some one understand a disability or someone who looked different.


However good ‘The Owl Tree’ was the children thought that

‘The Stone Mouse’ was even better.


‘The Stone Mouse’

There were so many problems for Ellie

and ‘The Stone Mouse’ to overcome.


Isabella said she was interested

in finding out why Ted did what he did.


Alice was fascinated by the connection

between Ellie and ‘The Stone Mouse’,

where they both seemed to be worrying

at the same time.


Alice thought that it was interesting

that Ted is the short for Teddy

and that usually Teddies are soft and cuddly

but that Ted in the story was not.


Our next class novel is ‘The Dog Star’ by Jenny Nimmo.

Teacher says that there is magic and a mystery in it

and we are looking forward to it.




‘Leaping Greenly Spirits of Trees’ – Art Project – Part 3

We spent the past few weeks looking at masterpieces of trees:

Van Gogh’s ‘The Mulberry Tree’

Mondrian’s ‘Gray Tree’

and Emily Carr’s  ‘Forest’

Georgia O’Keeffe’s ‘The Lawrence Tree’

and Klimt’s ‘Tree of Life’.

You can see more of this work on other posts 

You can see them here.

And also here.

Now having studied these works of art and trees ‘in real life’,

we will draw our own trees.

Before this project the most popular way

of drawing trees in the class was often like this:

However take a look at this slideshow

of the trees we drew since:


Perhaps after looking at our trees you might guess

which artist’s work we liked the best.


Was it Van Gogh’s colourful ‘Mulberry Tree?’

or Emily Carr’s ‘Forest’.


In fact as you can see from the graph below,

one artist’s work was a runaway success.


The children explained their choice by saying that

there seemed to be something ‘magical’

about Klimt’s ‘Tree of Life’

Real Maths: A Survey about Bicycle Helmets

Bicycle Safety.

Remember always wear your bicycle helmet!

Second Class, Room Six conducted a survey about wearing bicycle helmets.

We asked each class from First to Sixth:

1. How many children have bicycles?

2. How many have helmets?

3. How many wear their helmets on their bicycle?


The findings were interesting.

We found that children in First Class were the most safety conscious.


Wearing a bicycle helmet can save your good looks.


A bicycle helmet can SAVE YOUR LIFE


These were the findings

Though 97 per cent of people had bicycle helmets

Only 61 per cent wore a helmet.

39 per cent didn’t.


Doctors and nurses who work in Accident and Emergency

would say that they wish people had to wear helmets by law

as they see serious head injuries from people who didn’t wear bicycle helmets.


When Garda Linda came to visit our class she said it was important too.