Gumdrops and toothpicks make fabulous, budget-friendly math manipulatives.
This lesson is great for kids who love to build, and who are learning about their geometric shapes. I personally love this lesson for Summers, Holiday breaks, and the end of the school year. Kids are a little bit more antsy around these times of year and sometimes it helps to have a math lesson that is a bit off the normal grid. This one fits the bill perfectly!
This lesson includes 2 different worksheets. Simply click on each picture to get the FREE PDF. Younger students can make 2-D shapes, while older students can make 3-D shapes!
With the provided worksheets (above) this lesson is a cinch to pull off! Make sure you have enough gumdrops and toothpicks. Give each student a pile of both. For a fairly complex 3-D figure, a student will likely need a pile of 25-35 gumdrops, and twice as many toothpicks. Students building a 2-D figure will need much less of each.
Variations: Marshmallows can be used as a less colorful (and slightly cheaper) option. Dried Spaghetti noodles can be used instead of toothpicks.
- Students build their figure and use the following page to name and sketch their shape.
- Students count the number of sides and vertices in their geometric figure and fill in the appropriate boxes.
- What does their shape remind them of? Students draw or name that shape in the appropriate box. For example, a triangle or pyramid might remind a student of a teepee.
- Students share their papers with a partner or group!
For another exciting gumdrop activity that can be used in conjunction with this one, try Gumdrop Multiplication and Addition. It's a super cool math lesson! Each gumdrop is given a numerical value of the teacher's choosing, and then the students do the math to find the value of their entire geometric sculpture! SUCH FUN!