Lesson Plan Title : Adding Integers

Age Range:

Grade 6 through Grade 8 (Middle School)

Overview and Purpose:

Students will use two different types of cereal to practice adding positive and negative integers. This will help them visualize how numbers cancel each other out.


The student will be able to

*add positive and negative integers together by using a visual aid.

*add positive and negative integers together without using a visual aid.


Box of rice chex cereal

Box of chocolate chex cereal

Teacher created worksheet


Review the definition of the word 'integer' (a positive or negative number or zero). Give each student ten pieces of each kind of cereal and the worksheet. Tell them that the rice chex are positive numbers and the chocolate chex are negative numbers.

Present the problem 4 + (-3) = ___. Ask them to lay out four rice chex pieces to represent the positive number 4. They should then lay their three chocolate pieces on top of three of the rice chex pieces. This shows that those pieces are canceled out. The one rice chex piece uncovered represents the answer of one.

Another problem would be -5 + 3 = ___. The students should lay out five chocolate chex pieces to represent (-5). The can place three rice chex pieces on top of three of the chocolate chex ones to show that they are canceled out. The remaining two chocolate pieces represent the answer of (-2).

Have students continue to work with you through guided practice until they understand. Once they are comfortable with the skill have them complete the worksheet. The last few problems on the worksheet should challenge them to figure out the answer without using the cereal.


This activity is especially helpful for students who are visual or tactile learners. Students who still struggle with the concept could have access to small bags filled with checkers that represent negative and positive integers.