Monday, September 26, 2011

Milk Chocolate Multiplication

Can a first-grader really do multiplication? I thought I’d find out. My son loves math, candy, and books so this activity was right up his alley.

If you recreate this activity with your child, you need three things:

#1 The Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Multiplication Book by Jerry Pallotta.

#2 A Hershey’s bar or two.

#3 The “Draw it, Count it, Multiply it” worksheet I made (download it here).

Pallotta’s book served as a great way to expose my son to an entirely new kind of math sentence, using rows of the candy bar’s sections to illustrate multiplication. After we’d finished the book, I opened our candy bar and asked my son what the multiplication problem would be: 3 (rows) x 4 (columns). Then he counted the sections for the answer: 12. I broke off some rows and we continued to identify the multiplication problem our now smaller candy bar provided us.

I’m not going to lie, we both ate a fair amount of chocolate doing this activity (MMMMmmmm).

After doing this for awhile, we flipped over the laminated worksheet I’d made. I used a fine-tip dry-erase marker to fill in the boxes at the top and asked him to make that number of squares across and down and complete all the boxes in between. When he’d done this I asked him to complete the multiplication sentence at the bottom of the page and reminded him about what he’d drawn (e.g. 3 rows of 5 squares equals how many squares altogether?). We did about 5 problems before quitting for the day.

TIP:  Avoid using a black dry-erase marker. Ours made it difficult to distinguish where the dots were and make the squares. After discovering this, we switched to a lighter color marker.

Even if it was a little advanced for a six-year-old, my son loved this introduction to multiplication (it wasn’t just the chocolate he enjoyed, I swear!). This is a skill we can easily build on and, by laminating the worksheet, we can just wipe it clean to practice over and over!

In the future, I think I'll use a die to help us decide which numbers to multiply. Since this is new to my son, keeping both numbers below six will work great.


  1. Yay! This looks so much fun! I love how you make math so accessible to little ones!

  2. AGAIN- you WOW me with your creativity and generosity!

  3. I just found your awesome blog! I have awarded you with the Versatile Blogger Award. Drop by when you get a chance and pick it up.

    Have a Happy Week!

  4. Nice! I better keep this in mind or bookmark it. My son's fast getting to the point where serious math (read-simple multiplication) will come up. This will surely keep him motivated.

  5. We did a unit study last year with a chocolate bar and my kids absolutely loved it. Thanks for sharing your ideas. Any reason to eat, um... I mean learn, while using chocolate is worthwhile.

  6. Math and candy are the perfect mix. Thanks for sharing.

  7. This is such a fun way to learn math! You have such great ideas. Would love for you to link this up to the AfterSchool linky party.

  8. My K girl loves math and seems to be picking up multiplication out of thin air. A perfect seasonal book for her was 2x2=Boo by Loren Leedy. It stops at 5x5, but it's a reasonable introduction to the subject.

  9. what a YUMMY way to work on math skills! I might like subtraction, though! haha!

    Thanks for linking to the Sunday Showcase & hope to see you again this week - I always look forward to seeing what you've been up to!


  10. omg this is so useful! I can barely get my little ones to do these Halloween cut outs, but they are crafty enough. Will see if I can get them to work on their math...