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Bean counter


Ages 9 to 11

Pupils love this activity, and it is always a huge success in terms of knowledge and understanding.

To teach the topic of ratio and proportion, place the pupils in pairs and give them a tube of Smarties.

Ask them to record the ratio of each Smartie colour to every other colour. Once they have grasped this, move on to calculating the proportion of each colour within the tube.

Encourage them to work out how to write these as fractions and percentages, then simplify the fractions and round decimal numbers to the nearest whole number. Once they have completed the task, they can eat the Smarties. It's funny how motivated they become with the lure of chocolate in their midst.

This may not fit in with the healthy schools agenda, but as a once a year motivational tool it works a treat.

Louise Payne teaches at Collingwood Primary School in Essex.

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