Pick a piece of candy!

I try to change seats often in my classes (every three weeks or so). Sometimes I choose their seats for them, but most of the time it is random.  I usually use a deck of cards (well, part thereof), kids pick a card when they walk in and all of the Aces, Twos, … sit together.

A few months ago, I for some reason had a lot of leftover candy. So I divided into groups. One of the five groups I created was this one:

First period, kids walked in, sat in their usual seats and began working on the warm-up. As they were working I walked around and asked each person to pick one piece of candy but not to eat it yet. There was a bit of grumbling about having to wait to eat the candy, but they played along.

You can see where this is going, right? I next announced, okay pack up your stuff and find all the other people with the same type and flavor candy. It was a nice change of pace from my usual “pick a card”.

So, I repeat the process second period.  I get to the first table, and the first cherub looks at the bowl and says “I think this is how we’re getting our new groups! There are only three or four pieces of each type.”

I neither confirmed nor denied that this was the reason for the candy. They then proceeded to shout out which one they were picking so their friends could grab the same kind. It was a bit chaotic for a few minutes, but they quickly settled down and refrained from eating their chosen piece of candy.

With an evil grin I then announced, “You guys figured it out! We’re forming new groups today. First thing you’ll need to do is pass your candy to the person on your right, then find everyone who has the same type and flavor of your current piece of candy and pick a table.”

A collective groan arose. Silly kids really thought they’d outsmart me.

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4 Responses to Pick a piece of candy!

  1. Druin says:

    Love Love Love Love this!!! Consider this idea stolen! 🙂 I’ve also used playing cards and I want to make some of the matching problem cards (equation and its inverse, etc) for partner work. Thanks for sharing!

  2. mfragin says:

    Hi Jackie. What a treat, two posts in a row, after year of silence! 🙂

    Druin: your choice of words is exactly what I was blogging about a while back:


  3. S0CR4T3S says:

    I have a brief question regarding the optimal order of math classes. A while back you made a post which suggested that geometry might be better placed before algebra:


    Would it be reasonable to say it should come *before* algebra and *after* basic math & pre-alegbra?

  4. mathematicfanatic says:

    Great idea! I have used the playing cards before, but this candy idea is much more fun. Thanks for sharing!

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