Green Fractions

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Green Fractions

How many green M&Ms are there?

You can do this activity with M&Ms in any mix of colors, or with jellybeans or colored buttons.

Plain-M&Ms-Pile

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Materials:

  • Bag of M&Ms, mixed colors
  • Tray or plate

Instructions:

  • Let your grandchild find one M&M of each color. Lay them out on a tray or plate.
  • For example, 1 green, 1 red, 1 blue, 1 pink, 1 yellow.
  • Ask your grandchild what part of the whole is green. That is, if you have five M&Ms and they are all different colors, what part of five is the one green one? It is one-fifth, one of five.
  • Whether they get the right answer, or you supply it, they get to eat the green one.
  • Now, what part of the whole is the red one? It is one-fourth, because it is one of the four remaining M&Ms. Now, they get to eat the red one.
  • What part is the blue one? It is one-third because it is one of three remaining M&Ms. They get to eat the blue one.
  • What part is the pink one? It is one-half, because it is one of two M&Ms. They get to eat the pink one.
  • What part is the yellow one? It is one whole M&M, because it is the only remaining one. And, they get to eat it.

What Next?

By this time, your grandchild not only knows the words for fractions, they have a good sense of what it means to be part of a whole. Ask them what fraction would be one in six (one-sixth), one in seven (one-seventh), one in eight (one-eighth), one in nine (one-ninth) and one in ten (one-tenth).

Optional:

  • Have your grandchild put out two green M&Ms and ask them what part of the whole group is one M&M (one-half). Don’t eat them yet.
  • Add another green M&M to the group. What part of the whole is one green M&M? (one-third) Don’t eat them yet.
  • Add another green M&M to the group. What part of the whole is one green M&M? (one-fourth). Don’t eat them yet.
  • Add another green M&M to the group. What part of the whole is one green M&M? (one-fifth). Now, they can eat them all.

At that point, it will be time for a big glass of milk.

And, tomorrow morning, when you get out the egg carton, you can ask them what fraction of eggs in a carton with a dozen eggs is one egg (one-twelfth). Two eggs (one-sixth). Tricky: That is, if you separate the eggs into piles of two, how many piles do you have (six). Three eggs (one-fourth). If you separate the eggs into piles of three, how many piles do you have (four). Four eggs (one-third). How many piles of four eggs will you have (three). Six eggs (one-half). How many piles of six eggs will you have (two).

And, then, you can just play.

What fraction of a team is one basketball player (one-sixth). What fraction of a team of baseball players is one player (one-ninth). What fraction of a team is one football player (one-eleventh). What fraction of the number of players on the field is one football player (one twenty-second). Remember, there are two teams on the field. What fraction of a dollar is one penny (one one-hundredth).

Thanks to babycenter.com for this activity.

Carol Covin, Granny-Guru, Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers” http://newgrandmas.com

 

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Comments (11)

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  1. Susan Cooper says:

    What a fun activity. I love how you have made eating M&M’s a great math skills learning experience. Way to go. 🙂

  2. This is how we used to teach our girls how to count and such.

    • carolcovin says:

      Jon, what a great way to teach counting! I used a photo book I made of the grandchildren that I captioned with numbers. "Christopher has one head. Natalie has two eyes. Your Daddy is juggling three pins."

  3. Leora says:

    Cool! I wish I had read this post a few years ago. I need one now for long division with decimals…

    • carolcovin says:

      Leora,
      Long division with decimals. Now, that's a challenge!

  4. carolcovin says:

    Susan, A few years ago a young Mom told me she taught her kids fractions by cutting an apple into quarters at the beginning of a trip, giving them one-quarter when they were one-quarter of the way there, a second slice when they were half-way there, and so on. By the end of the trip, they knew fractions!

  5. What a great idea for grandparents to do with their grandchildren!! Will the kids get to eat the sweets?:-)

    • carolcovin says:

      Catarina, Normally, I try to limit sweets for my grandchildren, but this just seemed like such a fun activity. I offer the options of using colored buttons or beads.

  6. marcuslee2401 says:

    What a tasty way to learn!

  7. JeriWB says:

    Tasty indeed! Anything to make math fun 🙂 I developed a writing activity based on describing eating a chocolate kiss that works well for many ages.

    • carolcovin says:

      Jeri,
      Love the writing exercise, working something you love into it! Will there ever be an end to the many ways to enjoy chocolate:)