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## #262. Teaching fractions & ratios with M&Ms

Mathematics, level: Elementary
Posted by Laura Vasiloff ([email protected]).
university of british columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Materials Required: enough M&Ms for 20/student, in baggies
Activity Time: 1 hour lesson
Concepts Taught: fractions & ratios

Have students work alone or in pairs at their desks. Distribute the baggies with 20 M&Ms in each one. Have students copy a chart like the blackboard chart into their notebooks. They will be filling the charts in with their own data from their M&Ms bags. They will begin by tallying each colour, then give fractions and reduced forms for each colour, then they will write ratios for each colour. Before students begin, explain the ground rules to them: the M&Ms can be eaten at the beginning of their work but then they will be given less interesting and less fun textbook work to do. If they wait just a bit, they will discover that eating the M&Ms is actually built into their work assignments! After writing all their ratios, tell the students to start eating the M&Ms, but they must stop eating them 2 times before they are devoured and redo all their ratios. For example, they might choose to eat 10 of 20 M&Ms- at this point they would rewrite the new ratios for each colour (don't forget this involves a new denominator!). This lesson worked really well with my grade 6 class (during my practicum)- all students were interested and motivated throughout the entire lesson, of course many suffered from a slight sugar high afterwards...

Good luck!