Tuesday, April 23, 2013

5th Grade Cookie Color Theory

Every year since I started teaching, my cookie color theory lesson has been a staple in 5th grade...something the students always look forward to doing.  Usually, however, I do this lesson in the beginning of the year as an attention grabber.  Due to the "excitable" nature of this year's 5th graders, I decided to hold off on this lesson until the students were able to better control themselves, and I think it was for the better!

In the past when I've done this, it took a lot of yelling to get students to calm down enough to listen and review what the primary, secondary and tertiary colors were.  However, since I held off until the end of the school year, the students already knew what these colors were, so I gave them my "if you eat or lick any frosting off your fingers during this process, you will not finish the project" speech and let them go to town in groups.  I didn't have to interject about how to mix colors in any groups because if a student STILL didn't know how to mix tertiary colors, their group mates helped them out!

 Before the students come to class, I have a tray for each table ready to go.  There are there empty Dixie cups (for color mixing) and three Dixie cups filled with the primary colors in vanilla frosting.  I count out and pre-bag 13 vanilla wafers (bought in bulk from BJs Wholesale).  I give them a handful of Popsicle sticks for color mixing, and these 12"x 12" laminated color wheel place mats I made three years ago.  The place mats clean up real nicely with a squirt of hand sanitizer and a paper towel!

At the end of class, students have to clean their table up, wash off the tray and throw out any remaining frosting.  Then they get to split up the cookies.  Depending on teacher preference, they are allowed to eat their cookies after I have photographed their group with their color wheel or they take the cookies back to their room on a paper plate to eat during snack time.

Students each received a grade out of 15 points for this project based on the following:
          Is the color wheel ordered appropriately?
          Did you work well with your group members?
          Did you follow directions and have good self-control with the frosting and cookies?

I definitely think that next year I will not being doing this project at the beginning of the year.  It will be an end of the year review given to students based on good behavior!


  1. What fun! Who eats the 13th cookie?!

    1. Most groups had 3 students but two groups had four so the extra cookies went to the bigger groups. :-) if I wasn't totally put off by frosting I would have eaten them!

  2. This project is super brave! This would be a great lesson for the last week of school. Thanks for sharing :)

  3. There's a memory they'll never forget! Great idea.