Saturday, August 29, 2015

Subtraction with Regrouping- Edible Math!! Always a win!!!

Hey there!!

Do you like to use food in math?  I do.  Or maybe it's that my kids like me to...either's pretty much fun for all!!  Who doesn't love to eat AND love to do math??  ;O)

I had heard about some of the 2nd grade teachers at my school using marshmallows, pretzel sticks, and graham crackers for place value recently.  I'm assuming it's from Pinterest or something because everyone (except me) knew about it.  Well, I do love Pinterest, but apparently I missed that.  But since some super awesome teachers at my school were doing it, I still heard about it so it's really a win-win situation!

I started to think and wonder how I could use this for 4th grade because, well, even though the kids are bigger, they still like edible math.   So, I decided I'd try it with subtraction with regrouping because the common core standards do want them to understand how to regroup and what it means.  And truly, they need to actually do the regrouping to understand why they are crossing things out and making trades.  Plus, I want them to avoid becoming the Grim Reaper and slashing through numbers without thinking.

So, we have always used base ten blocks, but I thought on a Friday afternoon, we could maybe do something a little more fun.  Use food!!
So, we used small marshmallows for ones units, pretzel sticks for tens rods, chocolate Chex cereal for hundreds flats since it was cheaper than graham crackers, and big marshmallows for thousands.  I gave them 20 of each except only 5 large marshmallows, just to be sure they had enough to trade with. 

I put yellow butcher paper on the desks.  One, because it was clean and even after wiping the desks, who's to say they are clean?  And two, because I wanted them to be able to write the problems and actually work the algorithm as they did their regrouping with the food manipulatives.
I had everything bagged up and ready to go!  (Warning- it smells VERY sweet when they all get their "manipulatives" out!)!

Then, I put problems on the board.  We worked through the first few together, and then they could begin working through it on their own.
They were really excited to be able to write on the paper!  It made me laugh!!

Now, this was pretty abstract for some of them because they couldn't see how 10 small marshmallows were equal to a pretzel stick, so you'll want to do this AFTER you have worked with the base ten blocks!!  I strongly recommend it though!  They'll love you for it!!

I want to link this up with my sweet friend Joanne for her
since food always motivates kids!  ;O)

How do you make math edible??


  1. I love how you had the students practice problems directly on the butcheer paper. Incorporating food into quality thinking activities is definitely a win-win. Thank you!

    Fit to be Fourth

  2. I'm always thinking of ways to bring an edible treat into my lessons. This is great! Thank you.

  3. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS!!! Can you tell me how many "thousands", "hundreds", "tens", and "ones" did you give each child?

    1. I gave them 20 small marshmallows, pretzels, and Chex cereal and 5 large marshmallows. :0)

  4. Did you give them a certain amount of each food manipulative?

  5. My favourite thing about teaching easy it is to bring food into any lesson!
    Love this idea and the butcher paper is a great tip!


We love comments!! Like, super love them!! We like to reply by email (so you can see our response and we can chat back and forth) so please make sure that option is turned on in your profile settings or leave your email address here! Thanks again for taking time to comment!! It means a lot!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...