Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Three Bean Salad

Purpose: This logic activity can be used to help learners work in a visual, concrete way with multiplication, fractions and percentages.

Prep Time: The first time you do the activity, allow time to go through the worksheet yourself.

Materials: dried lima beans, red beans and black-eyed peas; copies of the worksheet

Prep: assemble dried beans needed; plan to give each student, or pair of students, about 10 of each kind of bean


1) If you want students to work in pairs, ask them to find a partner.

2) Give each student or pair a set of beans.

I do it:

3) Using the beans, pre-teach the following vocabulary from the worksheet. Refer to the worksheet to see how the vocabulary is used in the various “recipes”. Model, using beans, then have the students demonstrate comprehension by configuring their sets of beans.

twice as many

half (1/2) as many

half (1/2) or half (1/2) of


¼ of

3 times as many

5 more _____than _____

4) Hand out the worksheet and ask a student to read #1 aloud. Talk through your logic as you figure out the recipe. If necessary, do several of the problems this way.

We do it:

5) Ask students to join you in figuring out several more. Ask them to explain their logic.

You do it:

6) Once students understand how the activity works, ask them to work on their own, alone or in pairs. Once they feel they have the correct answer, they check with the tutor/teacher or with another pair. The teacher or tutor can circulate and assist as needed.


  • Students could re-write the recipes, converting fractions to percentages.
  • Students write their own recipes and challenge other students to solve them.

Thanks to Jennifer Boe Mesojedec, teacher, Minnesota Correctional Facility at Moose Lake, for sharing her worksheet and activity idea.

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