ETAD, Learning, Technology, Three Act Math Videos

Three Act Math Movies- Candy Colours

Concept- Equality

Three Act MathVideo Design by Jennifer Brokofsky and Ryan Banow

Possible Curriculum Connections

Grade 2– P2.3 Demonstrate understanding of equality and inequality concretely and pictorially (0 to 100) by:

• relating equality and inequality to balance
• comparing sets
• recording equalities with an equal sign
• recording inequalities with a not equal sign
• solving problems involving equality and inequality.

[C, CN, R, V]


b. Construct two unequal sets using identical objects and verify orally and concretely that the sets are not equal.
c. Analyze the impact of changing one of two equal sets upon the equality of the two sets.
d. Analyze the impact of making changes (equal and unequal) to both of two equal sets upon the equality of the sets.
e. Analyze and sort sets according to equality and explain the reasoning.

Grade 2– N2.2 Demonstrate understanding of addition (limited to 1 and 2-digit numerals) with answers to 100 and the corresponding subtraction by:

• representing strategies for adding and subtracting concretely, pictorially, and symbolically
• creating and solving problems involving addition and subtraction
• estimating
• using personal strategies for adding and subtracting with and without the support of manipulatives
• analyzing the effect of adding or subtracting zero
• analyzing the effect of the ordering of the quantities (addends, minuends, and subtrahends) in addition and subtraction statements.

[C, CN, ME, PS, R, V]

c. Model concretely, pictorially, or physically situations that involve the addition or subtraction of 1 and 2-digit numbers (with answers to 100) and explain how to record the process shown in the model symbolically.
d. Generalize and apply strategies for adding and subtracting 1 and 2-digit numbers (with answers to 100).
e. Create, model symbolically (and concretely, pictorially, or physically if desired), and solve addition and subtraction problems related to situations relevant to one’s self, family, or community.

Grade 4– P4.2 Demonstrate an understanding of equations involving symbols to represent an unknown value by:

• writing an equation to represent a problem
• solving one step equations.

[C, ME, PS, R]

c. Identify the unknown in a story problem, represent the problem with an equation, and solve the problem concretely, pictorially, or symbolically.

f. Solve a one-step equation using guess and test.

Grade 5– P5.2 Write, solve, and verify solutions of single-variable, one-step equations with whole number coefficients and whole number solutions.

[C, CN, PS, R]


a. Identify aspects of experiences from one’s life, family, and community that could be represented by a variable (e.g., temperature, cost of a DVD, size of a plant, colour of shirts, or performance of a team goalie).
c. Solve single-variable equations with the variable on either side of the equation, explain the strategies used, and verify the solution.

Act One- The Problem- Video

Two children are trying to share candies equally. However, they only like to eat certain colours.

Part 1

Part 2

The key questions that arise are:

  • How many bags need to be opened so that the children get an equal amount of candies?
  • How many candies will each child get when they are equal? (The video assumes that each bag contains the same candies as the first bag).

Act Two- Classroom Connections

Key questions that the video will inspire are:

  • How many bags need to be opened so that the children get an equal amount of candies?
  • How many candies will each child get when they are equal? (The video assumes that each bag contains the same amount of candies as the first bag).

What might the students need to acquire as they work to solve this problem?

  • Number and Colours of candies in 1 bag:
    • Red- 10
    • Yellow- 8
    • Purple- 7
    • Orange- 8
    • Green- 8
  • Number of bags in the bowl: 6
  • Possible Equations:

Girl- Red + Yellow + some Green = x
Number of Bags(10 + 8) + some green = x

Boy- Purple + Orange + some Green = x
Number of Bags( 7+ 8) + some Green= x

Act Three- The Solution- Video

The children need to open a second bag to reach equality. Equality is achieved when they each have a total of 41 candies.

Teachers’ Guide

Candy Colours


9 thoughts on “Three Act Math Movies- Candy Colours”

  1. Nicely done. Solid shots and good audio. I love the little fella at the end scarfing down the skittles – yum. Notes: An over head shot of the separating of the skittles would have showed the piles and grouping a little better. I liked Act 3, nice job speeding up the sorting action. In the last act, some maths graphics(showing additions) as the kids were counting would have clarified it for me – if I were a grade 2 student. Good job Jenn and Ryan!

  2. I am currently enrolled in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. I like how you have simplified concepts such as equality, inequality, reasoning, and problem solving through a simple hands-on task. Hands-on learning is a must in today’s educational curriculum. However, as a dad to a mischievous six year old, I am sure equality would be met with a green skittle being popped in his mouth while you turn to check on your other students. I also appreciate the focus on equal sharing as, again, my kids struggle with that concept.

  3. Hi, my name is Kayla Szymanski and I am currently in a class called EDM310. I am attending the University of South Alabama and have been assigned your blog this week. Your videos explain equality in a simple and very relatable way. This is such a great way to show children not only math skills but also how to be kind a generous to others. I think that the videos are more powerful than just explaining it to the class. Very good work, thank you for the ideas!

  4. Hello, my Name is Holli Snow and I’m currently enrolled in a course at the University of South Alabama, EDM 310. I’ve commented one a previous post of yours, and I was assigned to read another one of your posts this week. I love how you’ve simplified the process of building the kids’ mathematical reasoning and problem solving skills by using an engaging, and fun, activity that the kids can “really sink their teeth in to” haha! I think students can learn a lot through hands-on activities, especially when those activities require them to learn more than just “the facts”. I have to agree with Kayla Szymanski that these “videos are more powerful than just explaining it to the class”. Teaching children to learn and work collaboratively with one another, I feel, should be a must in the classroom. If they are unable to work together when they are young, the cooperative skills will be sorely lacking when they get older. These are absolutely wonderful ideas and thank you so much for sharing them!

  5. Hello Ms. Brokofsky, my name is William Taylor, I am a physical education major at the University of South Alabama. This semester I am enrolled in EDM310 and one of our assignments is to post a comment on an assigned teacher’s blog. I was assigned to your blog, and I will be summarizing my visits to my own blog by March 16. Here is a link to my blog: I was very intrigued by your blog post and the idea of educating students using a fun and productive method. I believe it’s key for students to learn important math concepts such as adding, subtracting, and problem-solving. I believe this activity also encourages students to collaborate with their peers. I was fascinated by the use of skittles to teach the value of sharing as well as the concept of equality. My passion is to inspire and educate students to live active and healthy lives. As educators, I believe it’s vital to allow students to share their thoughts and ideas in the classroom. I want to thank you for providing with a spectacular activity and I hope you will visit my blog.

    William Taylor.

  6. Hello Ms. Brokofsky,
    My name is Leanna Willoughby, I am Elementary Education Major at the University of South Alabama. I am in Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class. I just wanted to say that I really like the Skittles Scenario very nice job!!! I look forward to reading your future blog posts.

  7. Ms. Brokofsky,
    My name is Julie Jones. I am an elementary education major at the University of South Alabama. I was assigned to your blog and will be including a link and summary of your blog on my blog I loved your videos. Using candy in class problems is something that will be easy to use to get your students attention. It is interesting to see how easy it was to include all of the curriculum all while doing something that your students will have fun with. Thanks for the great idea for future students!

  8. Ms. Brokofsky,
    I think it is a great idea to use fun and engaging ways to teach children mathematical problems. I believe that students learn more through hands-on learning than through the traditional lecture method. I also like how the videos demonstrate not only math, but also how to properly get along with others.

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