Lucky Charms and Graphing -St. Patrick's Day Math

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Lucky Charms and; Graphing

Lucky charms
Joe Raedle / Staff/Getty Images

As much as you’d like to discourage your child from playing with food, St. Patrick’s Day is a good day to break that rule. Lucky Charms© graphing is a great way to help your child learn sorting, counting, basic graphing. Here's how to get started.

Give your child a bowl of dry Lucky Charms© cereal or-- if you'd like to have some more control of the outcome of the graph--give him a sandwich bag of presorted cereal.

Presorting allows you to make sure there’s at least one of every shape in the bag. Usually, about a handful’s worth is more than enough, especially since you can be sure your child will be sneaking bites when you’re not looking!

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Print a Lucky Charms Graph

Photo: Amanda Morin

Give your child a copy of the cereal graph. As you can see, at this point, there's not much to it. If your child is old enough to read, ask him to tell you what shapes are listed at the top of the graph. Otherwise, read off the shapes and explain that his bowl contains all of them.

Download the Lucky Charms© graph as a PDF file

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Sort the Cereal

Photo: Amanda Morin

Have your child sort his cereal into piles of the different pieces. In the boxes of the strip at the bottom of the page, he either draw each shape, glue on a real one, or cut out the pictures from the cereal box and glue them on.

Note: Lucky Charms® cereal has 12 different shapes, including marshmallows and cereal pieces. To make this activity easier, all "Shooting Stars" were placed in one category, regardless of color.

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Make a Cereal Graph

Photo: Amanda Morin

Help your child place his cereal pieces on the corresponding boxes on the bar graph. If your child isn't familiar with graphing, one way to explain what you are doing is to say that you are trying to see which shape can make the tallest tower. Alternatively, you can explain you are trying to see which pieces can fill up the most boxes.

Because the cereal pieces are sugar-coated, they have a tendency to stick to clothing. Your child might find it easier to turn the page sideways and make a row instead of a column. It might prevent the marshmallows he's already placed on the graph from sticking to his sleeve.

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Color in the Graph

Photo: Amanda Morin

Take one piece off the graph at a time, coloring in the box underneath it. That way, if one of the pieces disappears into his mouth, you’ll still know how many you started with!

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Finish and Check for Understanding

Photo: Amanda Morin

Count with your child to see how many of each piece you have. Then either write or have him write the correct number on the lines at the top of the graph. Don't forget to point out that the number "0" needs to be used if your child doesn't have any of a certain piece.

Once you're done, the numbers at the top of the page should match the number of boxes colored in each bar.

Now you can check for understanding while your child munches on marshmallows. Ask questions like:

  • Which piece did you have the most of?
  • Which piece did you have the fewest of?
  • Did you have more marshmallows or cereal pieces?
  • How many more leprechaun hats did you have than rainbows?