Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Chocolate Math

I have become completely enamoured of open-ended Math projects - they are absolutely my "favouritest" way to do math now. It's such a shame we have to do regular teaching and can't do this type of fun learning all the time!! It's so much more valuable (in my opinion) than traditional teaching.

Today we started our Valentine activities - early, I know but we are on half term break over Valentine week so if we don't do it now it just won't happen.

This morning's Math project was called Chocolate Choice and involved multiplying by multiples of 10 and using our addition pairs to 100 - 500. This sounds easy but the project showed me quite clearly that some of my children are not too sure of this when it comes to applying it to a real-life problem! It always boggles me (even though I know it shouldn't!) that they can do sheets of computation and the minute you give them any sort of a problem-solving activity it appears as if they've never learned the concept. This is the reason I love these Math projects so much - it forces students to think. :)

So... chocolate choices. Each group of 4 students was given a set of Chocolate Selection cards, 3 Weigh-In charts (on which to record their chocolate choices) a large blank heart template (for the chocolate box) and... a calculator!

Their task was to fill three 500-gram boxes of chocolates - with a different selection of chocolates each time.

One team got the hang of it very quickly and started selecting their chocolates based solely on weight - and addition pairs to 100. Some of the other groups got so involved in choosing chocolates that they forgot all about the maximum weight of the box and had to be re-directed. :) I loved hearing the debates on whether the box should have Strawberry Deluxe or Milk Chocolate Caramel - you'd have thought they were really going to eat these chocolates!

After their 3 boxes were filled the kids chose one of the boxes to create themselves. They had to design the box, then fill it with the chocolates on their chart. We used pink and red construction paper, heart shaped doilies and brown paper for chocolates. Then they labelled their boxes to say what was inside them. I have to say they looked awesome!!

And our bulletin board now looks FANTASTIC! We are ready for February.


  1. TOTALLY buying this! I think my kids will love it--and I'll just find a way to crank it up a notch for my top kiddos! You are doing some great things, Lynn! I've pinned it too--hope lots of people find it!!!

  2. Sooooooooooo cute!! Great idea!! You can tell they are really learning! :O)

    Collaboration Cuties

    1. It was fun :) They're really liking this type of Math - and it's helping me see who needs extra help and where they need it.

  3. We are working a lot on open ended math questions - we call them inquiry or 3 part lessons. I love this idea and it totally fits with my unit right now - will be checking it out for sure.

    Looking From Third to Fourth

    1. We do inquiry units in Topic work - it's been fun expanding the idea into Math. I've done a couple of projects this term. The kids love them and I find it so much more interesting - and valuable - than the traditional learning. Plus, Valentine projects are always so pretty :)