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Using a Bag of M&M’s to Teach Fractions to Fifth Graders

I had a lot of success teaching fractions with M&M’s. Pictures are good, too, but candy is something that your kids can touch and eat! I started with a large bag of pretzel M&M’s (my favorite) and we counted out how many total pieces of candy were inside. I then used this as an opportunity to teach students about denominators. Then, we counted out the amounts of all of the different colors (brown, yellow, green, red, orange and blue) and wrote down the ratio of the whole that each color represents. The night before, I made sure that all of the color ratios came in numbers like 12/60, which we could later simplify. After simplifying the fractions to something easy like 1/5, we then converted the fractions into decimals and later percentages. Finally, we ranked all of the colors from the highest percentage of the bag down to the lowest. Kids love candy, and they like talking about numbers when it’s something concrete. Eat up and enjoy!