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Math
Lesson
for Popcorn Day
Objective:
The
students will estimate how much popcorn will fit in a
given space.

Materials

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

Procedure

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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".)

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

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

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 postit 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!


