Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Math, Sweet Math

Farrah Milby
Orange County Schools


A great way to make math sweet ! Using candy, students explore whole numbers one to hundred thousand. Students place candy on a place value chart and learn how sweet math can be.


The student reads, writes, and identifies whole numbers through hundred thousands or more.


-Overhead projector
-Overhead projector pens
-Student activity sheets (Math, Sweet Math Activity Sheet, see attached, one per student)
-Activity Sheet (Math, Sweet Math) on overhead or chart paper (one for teacher use)
-Small snack size Skittle packs (one per student) or Skittles divided into random sets of 20
-Teacher checklist (Math, Sweet Math Teacher Checklist, see attached) (one for teacher use)


1. Gather Skittles or other candy, divide for students if needed
2. Prepare overhead activity sheet and student activity sheets (one per student)
3. Prepare teacher checklist


1. Pose the question “Who would consider math to be sweet? Who would consider math to be sour? Well, if you like math you might say is was sweet. If you dislike math you might decide it is sour. Today we will see if math can be sweet.

2. Write the following place value headings on the board, chart, or overhead: ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, and hundred thousands. Review the order and meaning of each.

3. Write a number into the chart and explain each numbers placement.

4. Demonstrate how the word would be said. Example: 123,456 includes 6 ones, 5 tens, 4 hundreds, 3 thousands, 2 ten thousands, and 1 hundred thousands. The number would be said “one hundred, twenty-three thousand, four hundred, fifty-six.”

5. Explain that students will be expected to write and read a given number correctly during the lesson as well as identify examples at the end of the lesson. They will be using a code (be sure that the class understands how to use a code). Different colors will represent different place values.

6. On the overhead, place a copy of the activity sheet. (or have it copied onto chart paper or the chalkboard)

7. Using one small snack pack of Skittles candy (Skittles have the most variety of colors), take all the Skittles of one color and place them in the appropriate column. Example, place all the red Skittles from your pack into the ones column. Count the number of Skittles and record it anywhere in that column.

8. Explain that students will follow this process for all the Skittles you give them. Then, they will calculate their entire number and record it on the Math, Sweet Math activity sheet. Example: “Since I have 6 red Skittles in the ones column and 2 blue Skittles in the tens column, my final number is 26. (Remove candy from the overhead to avoid a mess !)

9. Distribute materials and observe students doing the activity. Record observations on the Math, Sweet Math teacher checklist.

10. Insure that students are able to place their candy, record their numbers, and read them aloud to you. If students can not read their number correctly, give them a chance to think about it and revisit them later.

11. When everyone has finished, ask for volunteers who wish to share aloud their numbers.

12. Express positive feedback about the activity. Suggestions: “I like how most of you were very careful to place your candy correctly,” or “I saw good teamwork when someone had a problem reading the number aloud.

13. As conclusion, place Skittles or counters on the overhead in the place value chart and have students calculate the number. Students record their answers in the space provided on the Math, Sweet Math activity sheet. Provide four examples.

14. Collect Math, Sweet Math activity sheets and check to see if students answered the examples correctly.

15. Provide students with formative feedback.


Students will be observed completing Math, Sweet Math activity sheet with the Math Sweet Math teacher checklist. The checklist will address all areas of the activity sheet. Each item is worth one point. Items include placing the candy in the correct columns, recording the number in each column, writing the number, verbalizing the number, and answering four practice items. The teacher will monitor and complete the teacher checklist during the lesson and collect activity sheets to assess the four practice items. Students who earn at least 7/8 points will receive a Commendable. Students who earn from 5/8 to 6/8 will receive an Acceptable. Students who earn 4/8 or less will receive a Needs Work.


How can it be modified for specific learners, such as ESOL/ESL or ESE students?
Teachers can extend this lesson by having students compare their numbers to find who has the largest number, who has the lowest number. The lesson can also be extended by listing everyone’s numbers on the board or overhead so students can find the mean, median, and mode.
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