Gumdrop Multiplication and Addition

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Gumdrops and toothpicks make fabulous, budget-friendly math manipulatives.   With a pile of both, students will make towering geometric sculptures and they will have so much fun, they won't even mind the math problems that await!  

This lesson will make your everyday math lesson explode with enthusiasm!  This is just like the standard gumdrop (or marshmallow) and toothpick building activity with an exciting twist!  When students finish their geometric sculptures, the teacher gives each of the gumdrops a different value based upon its color!  For example:


  • ​Red = 2
  • Green = 5
  • Yellow = 7
  • Purple = 8
  • Orange = 9
  • White = 12

Then, students add up the number of each color they have, and then multiply that number by the value of each gumdrop to figure out what their sculpture is worth.  Students even get to add the number of toothpicks into the value of their sculpture!  

For example, if calculating the above values for this sculpture, the math would look like this:

​Red = 2 X 3 = 6
Green = 5 X 3 = 15
Yellow = 7 X 2 = 14
Purple = 8 X 4 = 32
Orange = 9 X 6 = 54
White = 12 X 3 = 36

Add these totals:  157 

Add the number of toothpicks:  157 + 48 = Total Value of Sculpture is 205

I have included a free worksheet for your use.  Simply click on the picture to access the free PDF!  When finished, have students figure out whose sculpture was worth the most, the least, etc.  

The nice thing about this assignment, is that you can change the values based upon what you are currently learning in math class.  Teaching triple-digit times single-digit multiplication?  Then make each color value a triple-digit number.  Studying the 9's in multiplication?  You can even make every color value 9!  Or, maybe you need to split up your students into groups, giving each group its own set of values.  It's an ideal way to differentiate the lesson to cater to different math levels.  It might be fun to have the kids help you choose the value, or if they choose the values for a partner!  The ideas are endless.  

For another fun gumdrop lesson, click here for the GUMDROP GEOMETRY MATH LESSON and FREE WORKSHEET.  What do you think of this lesson?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!