Cereal Math: Prime Factorization

Did you know that Sesame Street cereal is a thing?! I had no idea! I was really excited when I spotted it in the cereal aisle. It took great restraint, but I only purchased the 123 Berry and not the C is for Cinnamon (affiliate links here and below) because I still have leftover Alphabits and Steve already thinks I have a have an "issue" when it comes to purchasing cereal. (He's wrong. I can stop whenever I want.)

Anyway, when I saw the box of cereal with adorable little number shapes, I thought how fun that would have been back in my teaching days. I pictured students with trays of cereal, doing the same math they'd ordinarily do with paper and pencil, but in a tactile way! They would have loved it. Me too. It's always fun to shake things up a bit and present skills in a new, memorable way.

I poured out some of my new cereal on a tray and started sorting. At first, I was delighted to see how good the numbers looked. Look at the 8 - it is perfect! And the 4, 6, 7, and 9 - spot on! The 1 and 0 are great... but not true of the 2, 3, and 5. They're acceptable at best. Now I know why they designed the box they way they did, lol. Oh well!  

I dug in the pantry and found All-Bran. Together with the 123 Berry, I was ready for some math. I chose my very favorite skill to teach in 5th grade: prime factorization. 

100 = 5 x 2 x 2 x 5, which we write as 100 = 22 x 52.

Same problem, different way of solving it, same answer: 100 = 22 x 52. 

(Fun fact: Now I know how to do superscript tags in HTML!) 

I spent about 30 minutes playing with the cereal making a bunch of different factor trees, which was approximately 25 minutes longer than it took to get the photos I needed. It was fun. I KNOW that students would enjoy using this cereal for math problems. Obviously, you can do all sorts of math with this cereal: adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, fractions, and decimals (Grape Nuts would be great for decimal points), just to name a few. If you have kids at home, I definitely recommend giving this a try!


  1. LAst week my daughter bought the alphabet one. I was using it with my 4 year old granddaughter to do spelling. She was going to get the numbers one as well. Will be fun for doing numbers!


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