I was first introduced to using Cheez-Itz in a Math lesson when I was creating an area and perimeter unit. I was on Pinterest trying to find ideas and came across a post that, you guessed it, involved Cheez-Itz. Using whole crackers (no broken pieces), create different shapes with differing amounts of crackers. If each cracker has a side length of 1, then it is the students’ job to find the area and perimeter of the shapes. I was fortunate enough to do this with a fourth grade class and they loved it. They especially enjoyed being able to create their own funky shapes and use an object that was common but never associated with math before to practice and create with.
When I sat down to write a lesson idea blog post Cheez-Itz popped into my head. Wanting to be able to talk about more than just what I have done with Cheez-It crackers I searched “Cheez-It math” and I am so glad I did. The first (and only) thing I looked at was a collection of activities for grades 2-4, available on teacherspayteachers.com. The collection is free to download, just use this link! I am amazed with how versatile the scrabble Cheez-It crackers are.
The first activity relates to nutrition as the students are told to look at the nutrition label and discuss what they see. I think it’s a nice health tie-in.
The second activity was prediction, the teacher showed one cracker and the students were to predict the number of crackers inside their unopened bag. After they made their prediction they are able to open the bag. They can count how many crackers they see on the top, and alter their prediction, hopefully becoming more accurate since they have more information.
They are then able to pour out the contents of their bag and count each letters frequency. Once they know how many of each letter they have they create a graph, and then come together to create a whole class frequency chart.
After their graphs are created the students write fractions and sentences describing their results.
After fractions the students go into area and perimeter , they do exactly the same things that I had my class do.
Next, the students made arrays with their crackers. With their arrays they solved using repeated addition and multiplication.
After the arrays, students move into a brief spelling lesson where they are to create as many words as they can with their crackers. They are to record their words and place them into three categories, 2 letter words, 3-4 letter words, and 5-6 letter words. This is the final activity in the collection.
There is also a worksheet that goes along with all the activities that the students can fill out instead of recording everything in their notebooks. I was very impressed with how many areas were touched upon with one bag of Cheez-It crackers, it motivates me to find new ways to incorporate Cheez-Itz and other foods into learning time.