Easter Candy and Early Math Skills

What to do with all those easter jelly beans?  If you are heading out to an easter egg hunt today, as we are — you are likely to come home with an ample supply of jelly beans.  If your child can still think straight after that sugar rush (or better yet, before they indulge), you can use the jelly beans to exercise early math skills. Here is a fun activity called “Jelly Bean Math” found at the teachers corner on the Lakeshore Learning website:

Print Worksheet from PDF here: JellyBeanTemplate

Sorting and Graphing Directions

  1. Put jelly beans in a cup or sandwich bag for each student.
  2. Give each student a copy of the Jelly Bean Graphing Sheet. Ask students to sort the jelly beans by color onto the sheet.
  3. Once the students are finished, ask questions like:
    – What color did you have the most of?
    – What color did you have the least of?
    – How many more (color) did you have than (another color)?
    – How many jelly beans did you have altogether?
  4. For older students (1st-2nd grade), ask them to remove their jelly beans from the sheet and color in the graph to show how many jelly beans they had of each color. Label the colors along the bottom of the graph. Collect and post on a bulletin board.
  5. Now students can eat their jelly beans!

Estimating Directions

  1. Extend your “jelly bean math” by placing an amount of jelly beans in a jar.
  2. Ask students to estimate how many jelly beans are in the jar.
  3. Record their answers on chart paper with a marker.
  4. Together, open the jar and place the jelly beans in piles of 10. Use these piles to count the total number of jelly beans. (Ex: 10, 20, 21, 22, 23)
  5. Which student’s estimate was closest? How close was it?
  6. Repeat over several weeks, allowing students to use what they know about the number of jelly beans in the previous week’s jar to help them estimate the number of jelly beans in the current week’s jar.