As a teacher of 8 and 9 year olds, I've found that if I can relate learning to food (specifically candy) the kids tend to get excited about it and might even retain something!
One simple idea for making place value a little more hands-on is spending some time making Wonka Bars during math class. All you need is three different colors of construction paper, some poor volunteer with an hour to cut out a frightening amount of one inch squares, a willingness to pretend you are Willy Wonka, and a whistle.
You can get as into the Willy Wonka mode as you'd like. I typically tell students they're Oompa Loompas, they're working in my factory, they must call me Willy (our job is funny so often!), they must stop when they hear my whistle, they may sing Wonka songs or work as an oompa loompa team to create caramels, bars, and boxes, but they may not talk about any personal loompa business.
We talk about rules for packaging (see the very simple caramel packaging sheet) and off they go. If you want some extra pizzazz, download some Wonka music or a Youtube video. I love the Danny Elfman stuff (I'm quite partial to Danny and Tim Burton), but if you want the old school classic stuff that's your prerogative.
Here are the finished products.
|Caramel = 1|
|Bar = 10|
|Box = 100|
|1 box, 2 bars, 1 caramel = 121 total caramels|
Use these for addition and subtraction too! I especially like to cut up the boxes and bars when showing students why we "borrow" and regroup.
If you want even more Wonka fun, check out my Wonka Week Golden Tickets for free here. I love to use these at the end of the year or anytime you need something fun and different to mix up your management system for a week or two.
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