If your students are struggling with the distributive property of multiplication over addition, then you should try this hands-on activity!
Students begin by writing the problem, which is printed on the ice cream cone. As students solve the problem on paper, they can look for the ice cream scoop that matches their work. The ice cream scoops have each step of the distributive property printed on them. The goal is to correctly build your cone from the bottom, up!
Once students finish "creating" the four cones, they can solve the problems that are written on the ice cream sundae for extra practice. If needed, they can simply refer back to their ice cream cones to make sure that they are completing each step correctly.
By working out the problem on paper and "creating" all of the different cones, students will become familiar with the process that is essential to solving distributive property questions. I have used this activity as a center with my whole class and as a small group activity for everyone in the class.
For an extra special treat, your class can create real ice cream cones at the end of the distributive property unit; this would be a great goal for the class!
Virginia SOL: Math 5.19
Clip Art: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Innovative-In-Fifth