# Green Fractions

**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.

**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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Filed in: Playtime

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

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

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."

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

Leora,

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

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!

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

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.

What a tasty way to learn!

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.

Jeri,

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