Sorry for the delay. I had a pretty wicked migraine last week that took me out most of the week.
To recap our September Science Saturday: we had a beautiful Saturday afternoon on the 14th and a great turnout of math lovers (my kind of people).
Now, I created this lesson from a second grade lesson that I only remember had to do with M&M and math (yes, 20+ years ago, when I was in 2nd grade). I wanted to bring it down to the preschool level: basic counting, addition, and I introduced the concept of division (sharing the M&Ms) just to see how well it went over.
Here's what I created as worksheets:
M&M Math Lesson for Preschoolers
M&M Bar Graph
I chose a paper cup full of M&Ms instead of a bag of M&Ms. I was pretty good at scooping out right around 40 M&Ms/cup. The parents guided the kids through the worksheets - surprisingly, the kids were patient enough to do the math before eating the M&Ms.
I had the kids count their M&Ms. The best method was to dump them all out and count them as you put the M&Ms back in the cup:
Then, the kids sorted their M&Ms by color and counted the amount in each color:
Then I had the kids add the primary colors (red, blue, yellow) and then the secondary colors (orange and green since there is no purple). This was exciting for most of the preschoolers since they knew what primary and secondary colors were.
The wild cards were the concept of division and the bar graph. I introduced division as sharing their M&Ms. If you split your M&Ms equally between everyone in your family, how many would each person get? I suggest getting a paper cup for each family member and putting M&Ms one at a time in everyone's cup until the M&Ms are gone. Then count the piles to make sure they are equal. If they aren't, how many are left?
For the bar graph, I made it optional since I wasn't sure of the attention span on the beautiful Saturday. Most kids wanted to do it. I recommend transcribing your color counts below the labels on the x-axis (the colors) and using the same color crayon as M&M to color how many M&Ms of that color you have. I told the kids to find the number on the graph (y-axis), draw a line at that number, and color from 0-the number of M&Ms in that color (I have the axis counting by 5's and put on a minor axis of 1's). The kids were then able to visually assess which color(s) had the most M&Ms.
I hope this is successful for you. We had a lot of fun! It's just in time for Halloween, so feel free to use packets of M&Ms instead of cups of M&Ms. Cups were pretty easy for the bulk necessary for Science Saturday (and most likely classrooms).
P.S. I was asked by parents of really young kids how kids learn how to count (like without skipping numbers or getting stuck in transitions between decades). My answer: practice. J had a hard time, and we just practiced. He can now count to over 100 before getting bored, without mistakes most of the time. Hopefully, you can find and state the patterns as you go along (like from 20-100 everything goes decade+next number ie. twenty-one, twenty-two...and 40-90 sounds just like their unit digit (four-ty, six-ty, etc. though fifty is hard since it's not five-ty)).