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Square Numbers With Crackers

Do you want to feel like a math hero? Try teaching your kids about square numbers in a way that actually makes sense to them. All you need is a box of square crackers.

It turns out that this is easier said than done in our household. Yesterday I purchased a special box just for this activity, but my husband almost polished off the whole box last night watching Nova. Argh!

The way this works is that you use the crackers to build numbers. Ask your kids if they notice anything special about the numbers 1 and 4. They are square!

Is 5 a square? No!

Is 6 a square? No, it’s a rectangle.

7 isn’t a square either.

Neither is 8.

But look! 9 makes a square. It’s a square number.

If we were to keep building (which would require a complete box of crackers) then we would see something like this. The next square number is going to be 16.

Children who are learning about multiplication can also learn the corresponding equations that go with each square number. 1 x 1 = 1, 2 x 2 = 4, 3 x 3 = 9, 4 x 4 = 16 As the teacher, you can make this activity as advanced or as simple as the needs of your child requires. Just be sure to hide the box of crackers from your husband. 🙂


5 Comments

  1. Noelle says:

    This is wonderfully simple! I think I’ll try it with pattern blocks, because there’s no way I’ll be able to keep crackers safe!

  2. Nidhi says:

    This is such as a simple but ingenious idea….I am going to go buy that box of crackers right now..

  3. Jenn @ Home is Where You Start From says:

    oh wow, I am not a Math person, but this kind of lights my fire! I’m going to show my kids this, thanks for sharing 🙂

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