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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Factoring Numbers with M&Ms

So, today my daughter's math lesson consisted of factoring numbers. She is terrified of multiplication, yet this was the lesson. Needless to say, she needed a bit of a help. So, as I'm reading through the lessons, it dawned on me that it was time to break out the math manipulatives - Otherwise known as, M&Ms.

It's a good thing we don't do math all day every day or this family would probably look like we needed to do some subtraction in the weight we put on from eating all of the extra math counters we use. But, nonetheless, we learned to factor using M&Ms.

Here's how it works:

The lesson went something like this:

48 campers need to be placed inside of tents with the same number of campers in each tent and no camper left without a tent. How many campers fit into the tents if you have 1 tent? 2 tents? 6 tents? etc.

So, we got to work.

We used M&Ms to represent the campers and plastic sandwich bags to represent the tents:

I counted out 48 M&Ms and placed them inside a bowl.
We then opened up one plastic bag for her to put the M&Ms inside.
We then dumped the M&Ms (campers) into the bowl and set up 2 tents (bags), then 5, then 6, etc.
After we had dispersed each camper inside the tents, we counted how many were inside the tent. This was our factors - For instance, 6 tents held 8 campers each, totaling 48 campers - So, 6 and 8 are factors of 48.

It worked out to be something like this:

Tents/Bags     Campers/Scouts/M&Ms
1                  -            48
2                  -            24
3                  -            16
4                  -            12
5                  -         Does not equally divide campers into tents (M&Ms into bags)
6                  -              8
7                  -         Does not equally divide campers into tents (M&Ms into bags)
8                  -              6

So, the factors of 48 are:

1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, 24, 48

We continued with additional factor problems until the lesson began to make sense and the questions in her lesson were done.

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