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 or beads.

English: A pile of plain M&M's candies.

A pile of plain M&M’s candies. (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.

If you have five people sitting around the dinner table, each with a knife, fork and spoon, what fraction of the spoons is one spoon (one-fifth).

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.

 This article first appeared on grandmotherdiaries.com

Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers”

http://newgrandmas.com

 

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