Edible Math, aka Candy Math!
by Kim Jaworski, Homeschool Resource Specialist
Nothing gets our attention like food. Which is why we did our math just after lunch each day, but snack time would also work. Most days (Mon through Thurs) we used poker chips to keep track of who answered their math problems right during our games and activities. But on Fridays it was Edible math (more accurately, Candy Math!). On Friday we might use M&Ms, Skittles or goldfish crackers to keep score. Or maybe we’d use pretzel sticks to create pentagons and octagons as we learned our shape names. Playing with some munchables always re-kindled waning attention.
I can’t emphasize enough how boredom can make your whole math lesson pointless. So imagine this: I hand you a sheet of math problems and you know that when you finish them you can do something else – maybe even something fun. Now your brain is fixated on getting DONE. The priority isn’t going to be about being accurate or to even paying much attention to each problem. Just getting DONE. With a game or activity you can cover the same math skills but in such a way that the brain shifts its priority to being accurate (and getting a skittle) and not just simply being DONE. Anytime you can bump up the interest level or create a bit of novelty, you have their full attention and learning happens almost effortlessly.
Jumping in with some Gumi worms or raisins or mini-marshmellows can be just the attention getter you need. Check out my article on easy math games. It’s not hard to do and you’ll have the hang of it in no time. Math can not only be fun, it can be tasty!