Division, Elementary Math, Fractions, Math Talk, Number Sense, Vocabulary

Mathematicians Love Hot Cocoa

Who doesn’t love a good mug of hot chocolate in the cold winter months? When I was teaching in the classroom still, I was always trying to tie in real-world experiences into my math lessons and what’s better than combining math and hot chocolate?

Do you have that one bulletin board in your building that everyone struggles with an idea about what should go on it? Does your principal randomly assign grade levels and/or teachers to make sure it gets decorated each month? Sometimes it can be a big pain to figure out what should be displayed and find the time to get it done. In the building I taught for 15 years in,  we had this issue. Our 4th and 5th-grade hallway has one of these boards and of course, it is located right by and entrance and exit set of doors. If I’m being honest, the bulletin board was usually neglected and some stuff was just thrown up there.

I was walking by the week after winter break in 2022 and I was cold, so I was looking forward to getting back to my room and making a hot chocolate. All of the sudden the idea popped in my head…Let’s take a recipe and have the kids adjust it for various amounts of servings. You can see below what I came up with on Google Slides. I really like thinking of ways to make the bulletin board interactive and get kids thinking.

That night I created a rough idea of what I was thinking and send it to Kristin and to our PTA president, as she’s a graphic designer. I wanted the graphic designer’s ideas on making the bulletin board 3D. (see below my for original idea) She politely said, “Do you care if I take some creative liberty?”

She’s a busy lady running our school’s PTA, raising a couple of boys, completing some graphic designing projects… but she came up with this.

When I walked into the building and saw this I was stopped in my tracks and gasped with my hand over my mouth. Let’s take a closer look.

Here is the recipe card. I wanted the students to be able to make connections in math just like they do with reading. Math to Real World
THE cutest mug of hot cocoa with adorable marshmallows floating. The hearts on the mug allow this to stay up through February! (winning!)
I love how the measuring spoons and cup were added to show students how fractions are present in cooking.



























The math on this particular bulletin board is geared toward 5th grade standards (multiplication and division with fractions). That doesn’t mean 4th graders can’t do the math though. The next week we sat in the hall as a class and worked through the math of the problems. Fourth graders, even 5th graders,  need to make this conceptual with manipulatives or pictures. That’s great… encourage it! We do not want to just skip to the algorithm and rules. This is an activity your students will remember, especially if you serve hot cocoa with it!

Feel free to create your own interactive Hot Cocoa boards with teachers in your buildings name on the marshmallows. If you do, please share pictures with me!


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