Today I’m going to share some “Beary” fun ideas for teaching basic math skills.
One thing I like about using gummy bears for math manipulatives is that they don’t melt as easily as other chocolate-based candies, so they can be used for longer periods of time without making a mess. I like to use them to teach skills like number sense, skip counting, estimation, sorting, graphing, patterns and basic operations. You can use them just like you use a lot of your other math manipulatives on a daily basis. They also make great manipulatives for many of the activities in my seasonal math packs.
Here is a list of some of the ways I like to use gummy bears with my students during math time. Just make sure that kids wash their hands and have a clean surface to work on so that they can have a sweet treat when they’re done.
Beary Fun Math Ideas
- Number Sense: Count out the correct number of bears to match numbers on flashcards, or use them as manipulatives for ten frames.
- Skip Counting: Count a large number of bears by putting them in groups of 5s or 10s and then skip counting to find the total.
- Estimation: Fill a jar with bears. Ask students to estimate how many they think are in the jar. Then count them together as a whole class.
- Sorting: Give students a bag of bears and have them sort them based on color into cups, small bowls, or muffin tins.
- Graphing: After sorting the bears by color, graph the results. Another fun way to incorporate graphing is to have students survey their friends to see which flavor is their favorite. Then graph the results of the survey.
- Patterns: Use the bears to make AB, ABB, or ABC patterns. To extend this activity, let kids create their own type of pattern and explain the rule to the class or their small groups.
- Basic Operations: Use the bears as counters for simple addition or subtraction problems. Or divide up a large number of bears to count collaboratively in small groups and then add up the total.
What other ways do you like to use gummy bears during math? We’d love to hear your ideas!