This morning David was in his room quietly playing with Legos. Or so I thought. When I went into offer him a snack I discovered that he’d dumped all his Halloween candy on his bed and was in the process of sorting it into different piles. I immediately remembered a post someone on the Five in a Row message boards had once done about Halloween candy math and I decided to alter our plans for the morning.

I called John in and got him to work on his own bag of candy. I left it up to them how they sorted it which led to a good discussion about different ways we could categorize things. John chose to do his by SIZE which I found odd but interesting. So, for example a Dum-Dum lollipop and a bunch of small candy bars were in the same pile as they were the same size. David did his by type and he was very specific. Each separate candy had its own pile so he had a lot of piles with one piece in them. Later we did Ruth’s candy together and chose another method. We divided things into three groups: chocolate with nuts, chocolate without nuts and non chocolate. The sorting and categorizing made for a good kindergarten math lesson.

We then used this site to create some graphs. We talked briefly about different kinds of graphs and what they show. The site is very fun and easy to use. You can input your data once and then click to create different kinds of graphs with the same data. We made a bar graph with John’s data, a pie chart with David’s and one of each with Ruth’s. We talked about why David’s is hard to read (so many piles with one thing in them) and though about better ways of displaying his data. The graphing was a little beyond David’s level although he got the general concept and thought his graphy was “pretty”. We also worked on counting and a little skip-counting and addition when we were figuring out how many in each category. John really enjoyed making the graphs and although this was a nice easy math day for him I felt like it was worth doing and had the bonus of being fun.

One warning: If you can get through this lesson without each person eating at least one piece of candy than you are a stronger person than me.

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Great teaching ! Maybe Grandma would not be so challenged in math if she had had a teacher like you !

This is great, Alice, and it goes right along with a science lesson we did a few weeks ago in BFSU. I really should do this with my girls! Thanks for the link, too–we’ll have to use that site sometime to graph some of Lulu’s timed math practice data.