Popcorn Math Activity


(This post contains affiliate links and links to my business website, Shining Dawn Books.)

Target Age Range:  3rd-8th

Skills Covered:  estimation, capacity measurements, multiplication, calculator, collecting data, making comparisons, cooking

Food motivates my children and I suspect it might motivate your children, too!  It just happens to be a bonus that this food inspired lesson is healthy – so there’s no guilt indulging in the middle of your school day.  Enjoy popcorn math today!

1. Your child should pour 1/2 cup of un-popped popcorn kernels in a see-through measuring glass.

2. Estimate the number of kernels in the glass and note this on a simple chart that your child can create.  (The page we used came from an out-of-print book.  It’s better for kids to create their own charts anyway.)

3. Before counting the actual number of kernels, use a calculator and multiplication skills to determine an estimate for 1 cup, 1 pint and 1 quart of un-popped kernels.

4. Count the 1/2 cup of kernels and note the actual number on the chart, along with the difference between the actual number and the estimate.

5. Again, using the calculator and multiplication skills, use the actual number of kernels in the 1/2 cup to determine the actual number in 1 cup, 1 pint and 1 quart.  Note the differences between the estimate and actual for each.

6. Now, pop the 1/2 cup of popcorn!

7. While it’s popping, estimate how many cups the popped kernels will make.

8. Before eating, measure the popcorn and compare the actual capacity to the estimate.

9. Eat and enjoy!

Additional Idea:

You may wish to go through the same steps as above estimating and calculating the weight of the un-popped and popped kernels.

Popcorn Activities Around the Web:

Popcorn Economics

Proportion of Un-Popped Kernels Activity

Kid Activities Popcorn Page

Don’t Forget to Add A Book for Extra Learning!

Need a living math “how-to” guide? You might like Loving Living Math!

This post has been linked to:

iHN A Book and a Big Idea Link-Up


  1. Love it! Where did you get the worksheet though?

  2. What a great idea! my kids are going to love this – thank you!

  3. Where can I find the worksheets?

  4. Kristy,
    The page we used came from an out-of-print book. I’m a big believer that it’s better for kids to create their own charts anyway. :o)

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