Friday, December 2, 2011

Peppermint Fact Families

I finally remembered to take my camera to school and take some pictures of what we've been doing in math.

My team mate, Heather, saw this cute peppermint math fact activity on the web, and said she would love to use this with fact families. I had seen it as well, and thought it was a great idea.
The original pic was from Ms. Arnold at Oceans of First Grade who said she got the idea from Ms. Caroll at First Grade Parade (thank you ladies for the inspiration). She had her kids write two addition and one subtraction fact.

We took it a step further and had our kiddos write a multiplication/division fact family on one side, and an addition/subtraction fact family on the other. In order to do this, we divided our candy into 8 pieces (4 colored and 4 with fact families).

I also found a peppermint spinner activity from the November/December Edition of Teacher 's Mailbox that I used to go with this activity.

Here's what we did:

First, I divided my kids into groups and assigned each group a number to multiply by (2's, 3's, 4's, and 5's).

Then I had them pair up and take turns spinning the spinner and filling in the other factor. They could only use a number once, so this got them though all ten facts. They have not memorized their multiplication facts yet, so I had them use real peppermints to figure out the products.

Next, I had them write the entire fact family to go with each equation in their math journal.

After that, I had them choose one of the fact families and had them write it on the front, and then they took the product and used it for the sum to create another addition/subtraction fact family on the back.

I extended the lesson further the next day by having students pick one of the multiplication/division fact families from their math journal, and work backwards to turn it into a word problem. They wrote each equation, the fact family triangle, the equation in word form, and drew a picture using the peppermint candies to help. Last they wrote the word problem to go with the picture using students and peppermints.

Boy, I'm tired just typing all of this. I didn't realize how much work we got done, because it was so fun! I let my kiddos eat some peppermints at the end of the activity. They loved it, and I LOVE the beautiful hanging peppermint decorations in my classroom.

Oh, the peppermints were made with two paper plates (stapled together) , markers or crayons, cellophane or plastic wrap, and ribbon.


  1. This is great. I think I'll work it into my plans this week sometime, for addition and subtraction fact families! :) Thanks!

  2. Thanks Kristin, and Ms. Chrissy B. let me know how it goes!

  3. So cute! I'd like to try this one too!

  4. I just came across this! Thank you for sharing, I will have to add this to my list of to-dos!

    ♥ Jen Ross
    The Teachers' Cauldron

  5. You can use the same concept with younger kids with patterns (AB, ABB, etc.)using the same peppermint concepts. I did this one year around Christmas and my room looked really cute with these hanging up!


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