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Popcorn Day

Math Lesson
for Popcorn Day

The students will estimate how much popcorn will fit in a given space.


  • A large amount of popped popcorn

  • A large (approximately 2x3 feet, or smaller for younger children) cutout of any desired shape (perhaps an ear of corn or a bowl shape)

  • Popcorn Estimate Worksheets



  1. Show the students the cutout shape and pass out the Popcorn Estimate Worksheets.

  2. Have a discussion about what it means to estimate.  Show them the popped popcorn and have them record their estimates for how many pieces they think will fit on the shape.

  3. Working as a class, cover the cutout with the popped corn, until the area is entirely filled in.  Once the class agrees the area is adequately covered, begin counting the popcorn.  Brainstorm ways to count the corn, i.e. by putting them in groups of 5's or 10's.

  4. Once the popcorn is counted, have the students record the actual amount of popcorn it took to fill in the shape.  If appropriate, have the students figure the difference between their estimate and the actual amount.

Other Lesson Ideas

  1. Similar to the lesson plan above, but to be done on a more individual basis or to be done as a follow up to the above lesson.  Have the students estimate and then discover how many popped pieces of popcorn will fit on a given line.  Use the Measuring With Popcorn Worksheet.

  2. Make pie charts using the following statistics - Americans use 500,000,000 pounds of popcorn each year - 30% is eaten at movies and other events, 10% is saved for seed and sold to other countries, and 60% is eaten at home. (Statistics found in Tomie de Paola's "The Popcorn Book".)

  3. Graph the students favorite way to eat popcorn - plain, with only salt, with only butter, with butter and salt.

  4. Estimate the amount of popcorn (either kernels or popped corn) in a given container.  Actually count it out for the correct answer.

  5. Place a popcorn popper in the middle of an open space, with the lid off.  Have each student pick a spot where they think a piece of popcorn will land.  Allow each student to put a post-it note on that spot, with their name on it.  Pop some popcorn with the lid off and see how close the popcorn lands to their estimates!

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