Upcoming Courses

40 Hour Workweek

Uncategorized   |   Dec 18, 2009

Gingerbread house math

By Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Gingerbread house math

By Angela Watson

Word on the streets is that if you’re assigned to Mrs. Watson’s third grade, you’re gonna get to make a gingerbread house in December. Most of my class has been driving me crazy about anticipating this event since August. Today was The Day.


Measuring the perimeter of the houses to determine how many marshmallows are needed
(1 per centimeter).


Discussing how many Skittles to take
(5 colors x 4 of each color=20, with 1/5 red, 1/5 green, and so on).


Dividing chocolate chips into 4 equal groups (and eating the remainder!)


A finished product!
Notice the “window” with an area of 12 (using any array: 2×6, 3×4, etc.)

To preserve my sanity, our last day before break will be FAR more low-key. However, the gingerbread houses were totally worth the extra stress and headache. I try to do at least one super fun project with the kids each quarter so later they’ll have some memories of school that don’t involve test prep. I especially love doing something special for the holidays: so many of the kids suffer traumatic or disheartening events in the two weeks they’re not in school, and I like knowing that they’ve experienced at least one positive holiday-related activity with people who love and care about them.

What do you like doing with your students for the holidays?

Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Angela created the first version of this site in 2003, when she was a classroom teacher herself. With 11 years of teaching experience and more than a decade of experience as an instructional coach, Angela oversees and contributes regularly to...
Browse Articles by Angela


  1. I created it a few years ago and somehow lost the Word version–all I have is a hard copy! Ugh! 🙁

    The activities basically include:

    -measure the perimeter of the house and line with marshmallows
    -create two chocolate chip windows (2 windows x 12 chips each, using arrays of 12 such as 2×6 or 3×4)
    -put 3 M&Ms on each side of the house (3×4=12)
    -count 24 gumdrops and divide them into 4 groups
    -measure 1/4 cup of plain M&Ms then decide if it's even or odd (eat any odd ones) and compare with < > = to your gumdrops
    -divide peanut M&Ms into 5 groups putting 1/5 on each side and 1/5 on the roof
    -measure 2 tablespoons of coconut to represent snow and sprinkle on the house
    -take 4 mini candy canes and put half on the front and half on the back
    -count the candy on your roof and your friend's roof to determine who has more and how many more that person has.

  2. We also did a gingerbread math activity… it is a crazy day but lots of fun! I'm wondering if we can come up with a Valentine activity something like this using kisses or something… I don't like those little heart candies…ideas Lorri/ FL/ 3rd

  3. L: I have an activity with Valentine's day candy, and that one I DO have a Word doc I can upload! You can easily substitute another type of candy for the hearts. Why don't you like them–you think the messages are inappropriate for kids? I've noticed they now say things like Email Me, Fax Me, Text Me. Pretty pathetic writers at the Candy Heart Headquarters, I'm afraid. 😉

  4. LOL. I love it! Now take that super fun but stressful project and do one every hour every day of the week and you have the life of an elementary Art Teacher.

    Not that I'm bemoaning classroom teachers anything. What I deal with in day to day headaches is a trade off for all the meetings, and paperwork I don't have to do compared to y'all. LOVED the end products btw.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion? Feel free to contribute!