Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Cherries are Positive, Lemons are Negative

Rita Williams


Students discover the rules for adding integers. This lesson should be conducted after students have been introduced to the definition of an integer.


The student understands and explains the effects of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division on whole numbers, fractions, including mixed numbers, and decimals, including the inverse relationships of positive and negative numbers.


-Lemon heads
-Cherry heads
-Paper plates
-Aluminum foil
-Activity Sheet (See Associated File)
-Rubric (See Associated File)


1. Make sure you understand the directions the students are going to have to follow. Email, if you need clarification.
2. Gather materials. (Cherry and lemon head candies can usually be found at dollar stores.)
3. Wrap 10 lemon heads and 10 cherry heads in aluminum foil for each pair of students.
3. Download the associated file with the Activity Sheet and Rubric.
4. Make copies of the Activity Sheet and Rubric for each student.


1. Put students in pairs. Review your rules on how to be a cooperative worker. Encourage them to work cooperatively with each other throughout the activity. Let them know they will be assessed on how they interact with each other.

2. Distribute the Activity Sheet and Rubric to each student. (See Associated File)

3. Review the definition of an integer with the students. Be certain they know the characteristics of an integer, including the ability to be positive or negative.

4. Tell the students that they are going to discover the rules for adding integers by using cherry heads and lemon heads. Discuss the 3 statements at the top of the 1st activity sheet. Make sure they understand that positive 1 and negative 1 cancel each other out.

5. Review the Rubric with the students and answer any questions.

6. Distribute 1 aluminum foil package of 10 cherry heads and 10 lemon heads and 1 paper plate to each pair. Make sure they all have pencils.

7. Instruct them to complete the Activity Sheet. (The directions on the Activity Sheet are very detailed, so it is not necessary for you to walk them through the entire activity. Just be available for questions.)

8. Facilitate a discussion on the rules they created for adding integers.

9. Make sure they leave the class knowing the correct rules.

10. Collect their Activity Sheets and assess them with the Rubric.


Each student completes the attached Activity Sheet. The Activity Sheet is graded using the attached Rubric. The rubric only assesses the student's understanding and explanation of the effects of adding positive and negative integers. It does not assess the entire benchmark.

Web Links

An Interactive Student Web Lesson on the Beacon Site

Search for “integers.”
World of Math

Attached Files

The file contains the Activity Sheet and Rubric.     File Extension: pdf

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