Egg Carton Math March 03 2010

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Eggs are a symbol of the Spring season, and their convenient cartons make for some fun math activities in the classroom!

Get Donations

Before you can get started, you're going to need quite a few of these egg cartons. Put out a call to parents asking for donations - they should be easy to get since most people buy eggs.

You're also going to need plastic Easter eggs, which is great for this time of year. I usually get them discounted 50% to 75% off at the end of the season, which you can also do in a couple of months to build up your stash. For now, however, you can usually find the colored plastic Easter Eggs at the dollar store. Parents will be gathering them as well, so ask families if they'd be willing to donate a bag or two for your classroom.

Prepare the Materials

I like to have different sizes of egg cartons to help kids at different skill levels, but I usually stick with 6, 12 and 18 since they come this way and are easy to make if they don't. Since I buy my eggs in batches of 5 dozen, I have the large egg crates without lids and I have to cut them down and tape them together. I like to have several sets of each size, since I like for kids to do Egg Carton Math in small groups, centers, in partners or individually.

Depending on which math activities you choose for your kids, you'll also need to prepare the eggs.

The Math Activities

Basic Facts Practice

This is a great activity for younger children that involves 12 plastic eggs in a carton. Write a number on each egg (1 through 12) in permanent marker. Fill a small bowl with buttons or other small objects that will fit inside the eggs.  Have your students count out objects to fill each egg based on each egg's number.

For older kids, put a math problem on the egg, such as 2 + 3. The students then need to fill the egg with the number of items to represent the answer to the problem. I love this idea, because the math problems on the eggs will depend on the review and practice that your kids need, and can incoporate subtraction, multiplication and division problems.


This is also an activity that encompasses many levels. Use plastic eggs that are not joined, and write a math problem on one half of an egg and the answer on the other. You can keep sets together and kids have to match the problems and answers using the eggs and carton, or you can throw a bunch of problem halves and answer halves into a bucket and have kids find the matches themselves - once they find 12 correct matches and can fill a carton, they're done!


This is a great hands-on activity. Put together collections of plastic and paper eggs of varying sizes and colors. Have kids sort a collection, determining their own criteria and writing down how they sorted. The two most basic criteria include sorting by size and color. Encourage students to get even more creative in their observations and sorting in this activity!

Fraction Practice

Fractions are all about parts of a whole, and egg cartons make fraction review and practice easy. There are many ways to set the cartons and eggs up for review. I like to first determine what skills need practice in this area and then set up an activity. Some of these skills could include identifying fractions, equivalent and reducing fractions, and adding or subtracting fractions. As they are working on a particular activity, students can draw what they're working on.

To identify fractions, have kids cut up the cartons and put them together, showing 1/2, 3/4, 4/6, and more by filling in the parts of the carton to show the numerator. The cartons can also be used to identify equivalents, since 3/6 equals 1/2. To figure out more equivalents, simply provide a larger carton.  The matching game above can be used to match up equivalents or, with the answer on one half and a fraction equation on the other, review adding and subtracting fractions.

Solving Problems

Use the egg cartons and plastic eggs to have students create word problems and then solve them. Another option is to have a few problems ready to go for kids to solve involving the eggs and/or the egg carton. Here's an example of three math word problems:

  • There are two cartons with 6 eggs each in the kitchen. Mom will use 7 eggs for the cake. How many eggs will be left?
  • John hid 298 eggs in his yard for the Easter Egg Hunt. The Egg Hunters found 267 eggs. How many were not found?
  • Donna found 23 eggs. She smiled because she had found nine more eggs than Chris. Jenny smiled even more because she had found exactly as many eggs as Chris and Donna put together. How many eggs did Jenny find?

Granted, this last one isn't with an egg carton, plastic or real eggs, but it's too fun to pass up.

How Many Eggs?

Place a large jar on your desk and fill it with small chocolate eggs or jellybeans. Have students guess how many eggs are in the jar. The student that comes closest to the amount wins a prize!