Engaging Students in Math

The day after Halloween, one of my (Cathy’s) student teachers, Megan, presented a wonderful lesson to a group of grade four students on probability.  She opened the lesson with a picture of herself dressed as an M&M.  (This was not really her of course, but the students didn’t know that).  She told the story of how she disguised herself as an M&M and went out trick or treating.  One nice lady gave her a whole bag of M&Ms because of her great costume.  Megan wondered aloud on the probability of pulling out red M&Ms as opposed to green M&Ms or yellow ones.  This student teacher had these children with the picture, but the M&Ms clenched it.  All of the students wanted to predict.   The students moved from large group work to small groups to independent work with ease.  Interestingly, Megan did not allow the children to eat the M&Ms.  They were data.  The children accepted this fact and made no protest.  The math remained the focus throughout the lesson.  The lesson was an absolute delight to watch.   Trouble is, I may never eat M&Ms the same way again.  I will always be calculating the probabilities of pulling that red one.


About Dr. Cathy Miyata

Cathy Miyata is a professor at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is also an acclaimed storyteller and writer. She has performed and lectured in Serbia, Japan, Malaysia, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Sweden, Mexico, the United States, Egypt, and across Canada

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s