Snowball Math Lesson Plan January 12 2012

Celebrate the crisp, cold winter snow with this fun math lesson plan for younger kids. These three snow-themed math activities are simple to plan and fit in with any winter-based classroom units.

Snowball Math Materials

For these three math activities, gather together the following materials:

  • dark or light blue construction paper, cut into 8 1/2" x 11" pieces
  • cotton balls
  • miniature marshmallows
  • two large jars
  • white crayons
  • white stamping ink

Money-Saving Tip: Have you noticed how large cotton balls have become lately? Save some money and have a parent volunteer cut your stash of cotton balls in half to make them go farther.

Snowball Addition or Subtraction

This math project helps children create groups of snowballs to show simple addition and subtraction equations. In this case, the snowballs are miniature marshmallows,  but the cotton balls can also be used for this math activity.

  1. Review simple addition and subtraction equations
  2. Pass out the 8 1/2" x 11" pieces of blue construction paper, one per child, along with a number of miniature marshmallows
  3. Students glue their marshmallow snowballs onto the paper to show their equations, writing the equation underneath their snowballs

Once completed, these snowball addition and subtraction equations can be hung up as an easy winter-themed bulletin board called Snowball Math!

Snowball Estimation

For this whole-class estimation activity, you'll need the two jars and a bag of cotton balls.

To prepare for this lesson, put 20 cotton balls in one of the jars. In the other jar, put as many cotton balls as you'd like to use for this estimation activity.

Show your kids the first jar and tell them that there are 20 snowballs in it. Then show them the other jar and explain that you have no idea how many snowballs are in that jar. Before you count them together as a class, however, you want everyone to take a good guess.

Discuss with your kids how they could use the first jar to estimate how many snowballs are in the second jar and ask what would make a good guess. Once students have settled on their strategies, go around the room and write down each student's estimation of how many snowballs are in the second jar, making a simple graph on chart paper.

Together with your kids, count the snowballs from the second jar, comparing the final outcome with your students' guesses.

Counting By Fingerprint Snowballs

This is a great activity to reinforce counting and grouping skills. Using the Create a series of snowballs in groups of twos, threes, fours or fives.

Using one 8 1/2" x 11" piece of blue construction paper per child, have them draw three circles on the page using a white crayon (this can also be done beforehand).

Using a stamping pad of white ink (one per group of students), have your kids put a series of thumbprints in each circle - for example:

  • instruct students to put groups of two thumbprints in each circle and write the total number of groups of two on the bottom of the page. Change the amount of thumbprints that go in each circle based on the skill level of your kids.
  • change the focus of the lesson from counting and grouping to addition or subtraction by instructing your students to create simple equations using their fingerprints in the circles and writing the equation underneath the circles.
  • in each circle, have students stamp groups of two, three, and four, one set in each circle. Add circles to the blue paper as needed to expand the counting and grouping exercise.

Another option is to avoid putting the circles on the page to begin with, and simply having kids stamp fingerprints in groups beginning with the number one through the number ten, writing the corresponding number under each set of fingerprints.

Regardless of how you use this math lesson plan with your students, don't forget that the results can be used as an easy and cute bulletin board in your classroom or out in the hallway to help everyone celebrate the winter months!