M&M Tens

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SWBAT bundle a large quantity of objects into groups of ten. SWBAT understand how ten is used to bundle in the real world.

Big Idea

Students bundle into tens in this engaging lesson where they pretend to work at a M&M factory!

Setting Up the Learning

8 minutes

CCSS Context:

The concept of 10 is one of the most important things students will learn in all of first grade! When students have repeated exposure and concrete experiences with base 10, they start to understand the structure of all numbers. MP7 asks students to look for and make use of structure-this lesson asks students to create 10s, and then look at how the numbers change as they build with 10. This sets them up to understand larger numbers to 120 in first grade, and then to 1000 in 2nd. 


In Kindergarten, you learned how to count by 10s. We are going to be talking about groupings tens today in math. Let's start by doing a count by 10s song to get us ready to think about tens!

Let's dance to the Count by 10s song!


Ten is super important! All of our numbers are based on groups of ten. Ten is our best friend in math.


Your thinking job today is: How can I group objects in 10s?


Opening Discussion

10 minutes

Today we are going to pretend we are at the M&M factory. At this factory, our job is to take big groups of m&ms and put them into fun size bags. Fun size bags are little bags of 10 M&Ms.


Each bag has to have 10! Our best friend! When we get them into groups of 10, I want to see If we can figure out how many M&Ms we have in total.


I'll have a group of 30 M&Ms to lead the class in the discussion. During this time, I will put the candies into bags of 10, focusing on how many candies and how many bags of 10 candies. I will count the M&Ms by 1s for now until a student suggests counting by 10s.

  • Here is my first bag. How many M&Ms are going into this bag?
  • How many bags of 10 have we made so far? Have we made 10 bags?
  • How many bags do we have? How many are in each bag? Do we have 30 bags? No! We have 30 M&Ms. We only have 3 bags.


I'll restate: We have 3 bags of 10 M&Ms, in math we could call those 3 tens.


How can we count the candies" Share Time

15 minutes

I am looking at these bags and wondering: How many M&Ms do we have? How can we figure that out? (“Count them” will probably be the answer!)

Let’s start by counting each one. I’ll keep the M&Ms in the bag but I will count them one at a time. (I'll count the M&Ms, students chorally join in)

Guiding Questions:

  • Is there a way we could count the groups of 10?

If students are stuck…

  • How many does each bag have in it? 10. I’m thinking of a special way of counting you did in Kindergarten. You said, 10, 20…
  • Why can we count these by 10s? Why don't we count them by 5s?
  • If we count them by 10s, will we still get to 30? (Take a class poll)

Many students will think you will get a different number. Address it only after students have gotten a chance to experience the count!

  • How will I count them by 10s? Do I touch each M&M and count it, 10, 20? No?


I'll restate: I see I can count these by 10s because ___ says each bag has 10. Let’s count each bag by 10s. 10, 20, 30.

 Now I want you to show how I made these bags of 10 in your math journals. How many bags do I need to draw? 3!

Partner Talk: How can we show that each bag has 10 in it? (After planning time, students work on counting groups of 10)


Independent Practice

15 minutes


1. Students take out 10  (to represent the M&Ms) and put them in each ziploc bag they are given. (Students are given either 1, 2, 3 or 4 ziploc bags each)

2. Students cut out the bags they need. Students draw how many M&Ms in each bag.

3. Students figure out how many are in the bags in total.

**See MM Recording Sheet.docx for independent practice sheets!**

Group A

Goals for this group: These students are just practicing counting out 10. For students who are struggling with counting, hit hard on the 1-1. For students who can count 1-1, push them to focus on seeing the groups of 10s.
Group B

Goals for this group: These students are practicing counting out by 10s, representing their groups and figuring out how many they had in total. I'll push these students to think about counting by 10s.

Group C:

Goals for this group: This group already understood the connection between counting by 10s and groups of 10s. I want this group to represent numerically. Do we have to draw all the dots for each set of M&Ms? How else can we represent the tens.


5 minutes