Monday, July 11, 2011

Snack Math

I'm going to start with my "snack" philosophy.  If we are going to "do" snacks, everyone needs to have one and we all need to be eating the same thing. I have this philosophy for two reasons...

1. Some parents may overachieve for their children in the snack department. 

2. You never know who may be hungry in your classroom.

Thus, SNACK MATH was born!  Parents are asked to send in a countable cereal.  We do it everyday. A box usually lasts a week. I don't do a sign up or anything like that. I just put a small note in my weekly newsletter when we need more and parents send in boxes as needed.

At the designated time of the day, we pass out tissues for counting mats and everyone gets a scoop. It makes a GREAT math manipulative that everyone loves! We sort, group, count, share our numbers, and eat. I walk around while we share our numbers and get a quick check on the skills we are using that day.

In the beginning of the year we start with grouping in 2s doing odd and even numbers before we even count the cereal.  Then we progress to counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s. 

*Trix works best for tens and place value because the pieces are smaller.  This really is the best real life manipulative I have found for place value! Because as we all know, items don't normally come in nice and neat rows of ten.

We also use the cereal for adding, subtracting, story problems, and math journal writing

It is a hands-on, active, and engaging learning activity that the students enjoy!


  1. What a great idea! I love it! I may have to use that idea this year. Thanks!


  2. Kathy,
    I adore this activity. I've already typed a note for my back-to-school packet asking for cereal. Thanks for sharing. I'm excited.

  3. That is brilliant! Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. You are so right! Real world math doesn't come in perfect 5s or 10s! Love this idea!

    First Grade Frame of Mind

  5. If you don't mind, I might have to borrow this idea. We have little time for snack as it is so this is a great way to begin math time! Thanks!

  6. Thanks for a wonderful idea! I agree with some "overachieving" parents when it comes to snacks.

  7. I love this idea! I have a feeling when I have kiddos of my own, I might be that "overachieving parent". :) I wish we had more time for snack though! By the time we wash our hands and shove our snack down, it's time to move on! How long do you spend on this?

  8. I love this idea! We always have our kids take their snacks out with them at recess so it doesn't cut into instructional time, but this would be instructional time...hmmm...

  9. I like the idea! Right now I feel snack time can be wasted time and this would remedy that. I do have a couple questions though: 1) Is this a warm up time for your regular math lesson? 2) How long do you spend on this? 3) What is the size of "scoop" each child gets? 4)Do you have a list of approved cereals for parents?
    Oh, I'm sure I could come up with more but I'm very interested:)

  10. Rachelle...In all, it only takes about 10 minutes.

    Mandy...It is definitely instructional time and they don't even know it!

    Paula...1)No, this is not attached to my math time. However I do include this time in my math minutes for the day. When I first began teaching in Florida we had a certain number of minutes per subject for the week to plan for. I still count my minutes. 2)We are usually finished in about 10 minutes. 3)A scoop is what is dished out by my hand...easiest and simplest way to do it! 4)No, no special list. If anyone sends in something we can't use, I just return it home. Parents understand after I explain what we do with it. This year I had to read boxes due to allergy in the room. Anymore questions, just ask.


  11. I love this post..and good think to post here with us..well posted here..and too nice of this one..thanks for sharing here with us..

  12. I love this idea! Snack is always and issue even when parents bring it in but a box of cereal isn't a problem at all!

    Learning and Laughing

  13. Thanks so much! I love this idea. Every year I spend so much time sending notes about sending proper snacks for their kids. Most of the time the kids that are hungry are always the ones that don't bring it. This idea is great. It solves the snack problem while teaching math. Thanks. Jennifer

  14. I love this idea! We don't have snack time but I might have to start asking for some cereal! You're right- the kids love a little snack every once and awhile! Sometimes if I have leftover cookies or whatever and I pass them out on a random day- they are so funny saying that this is the best day of their life! :) Love it!


  15. I do this in my classroom on the day we have assessments and the kids love it. I even made a freebie printable to go with it. Stop by and grab a copy.


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