If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Math Activities: Measurement, Addition, and Subtraction

Addition and subtraction form the foundation for learning in mathematics. Your students will use cookies made together as a class as manipulatives to give them a hands-on learning experience.

Materials Needed for the Activities

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff

Oatmeal cookies (recipe follows)



Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

½ cup (1 stick) butter plus 6 tablespoons, softened

¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar

½ cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

3 cups oats uncooked

1 cup raisins (optional)

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter and both types of sugar on medium speed until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Beat in flour mixture a little at a time. Add oats and raisins; mix well.

Drop dough onto ungreased cookie sheets. Make sure cookies are small enough to make mini cookies.

Bake in a 350° oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Recipe courtesy of Quaker Oats.

Prior Knowledge Needed

Students need to have the ability to count to twenty by ones. Repeat and skip count to twenty by two’s and then five’s.

Teaching the Lesson

Show students the cover of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and have them make predictions about what will happen in the story. Read the book to your class stopping to discuss what is going on in the story. After you have finished reading the story, explain that they are going to become mice and be given cookies.

Place students in pairs. Give each pair an ingredient to measure out, which is a wonderful way to introduce measurement to your class. You will need to double or possibly triple the cookie recipe so that you have enough cookies. Each student will need about ten mini cookies, plus one or two to eat as a snack. Mix the batter and bake the cookies if you have access to an oven. If you do not, make the batter a day ahead of time and bake them at home. Be sure to keep the batter refrigerated until you bake it.

Activity Procedures

Give each student ten mini cookies. Explain to your class that today you will be doing cookie math. Start off with a simple addition problem such as one cookie plus two cookies. Write out about ten to twelve addition problems on the chalkboard for students to do using the cookies as manipulatives. It is important to write out the problems so that students can see the addition, subtraction, and equal signs. Try to make the last addition problems harder than the first ones.

Then, work on subtraction. Start with an easy subtraction problem, such as three cookies take away two cookies. Give students ten to twelve subtraction problems to do using the cookies, with the subtraction problems getting harder as you go along. Collect the ten mini cookies your students have been using and pass out one or two mini cookies for students to eat as a snack. It is important to check for allergies before allowing your students to eat the cookies.

What Did They Learn?

Write out ten to twelve addition and subtraction problems on the chalkboard. Have students copy and solve them on their paper.

Extend the Activity

Encourage students to memorize addition and subtraction facts. Have students make flashcards that they can use to quiz themselves. Give timed tests and set up a reward system based on improvements.


  • Classroom experience.