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In this lesson, students will use a package of M&Ms to practice graphing and analyzing their data.
- Book: “More M&M Chocolate Math” by Barbara Barbieri McGrath.
- One small bag of M&M’s candies for every pair (2) of students
- 1 copy of Worksheet 1 (see attached page) per student
- 3 copies of Worksheet 2 per student
- 1 copy of Worksheet 3 per student
- Colored pencils or crayons
- Overhead projector
- Overhead transparencies
Students must be able to apply their knowledge of systematically collecting/ organizing data to represent their findings on graphs, tables, and charts.
By the end of the lesson, students will be able to meet the following California State Standards:
Statistics, Data Analysis, and Probability
- 1.3 Summarize and display the results of probability experiments in a clear and organized way (e.g., use a bar graph or a line plot).
- 3.1 Compare fractions represented by drawings or concrete materials to show equivalency and to add and subtract simple fractions in context (e.g., 1/2 of a pizza is the same amount as 2/4 of another pizza that is the same size; show that 3/8 is larger than 1/4).
- Teacher will review concepts of compiling data and representing their findings on a bar graph. (Connection to prior knowledge, SDAIE Comprehensibility)
- Teacher asks if students have ever eaten M&M’s before, and what color the M&M’s were that they ate. (SDAIE Connections)
- Teacher announces to students, “Today we will practice our fractions and graphing skills using M&M’s.” (SDAIE Comprehension)
- Read aloud and slowly More M&M Chocolate Math by Barbara Barbieri McGrath (SDAIE Comprehensibility)
- Teacher will lead an open-ended class discussion about the book, asking which activities they liked the most.
- Teacher will pair up students in groups of twos.
- Teacher will tell students to take out worksheet titled “M&M’s Graph”.
- Teacher will explain the first step to the students: estimation.
- On overhead, teacher will estimate the number of total M&Ms in the package and list number on the sheet (fill out “estimated total”). Students will follow along with teacher’s model.
- Teacher will then open the M&Ms and fill out the actual total M&Ms.
- Following the teacher’s lead/model, students will use the total number of M&M’s to estimate the number of red, orange, yellow, green blue, and brown M&M’s in their bag (without counting them), and list these predictions on their papers.
- In pairs, students will count the number of M&M’s according to color and fill out the “actual amount” boxes.
- Students will then be told that the next step is to graph their data on a bar graph at the bottom of the page.
To accommodate for ELL students, students with a learning disability, or students who need additional assistance in the area of mathematics, teachers should pair up these students with highly proficient, advanced partners who the ELL or special needs student could refer to for any problems or confusions.
- When the prediction and actual amount sheet is completely filled out, the teacher will use the overhead projector to show students the results of his/her bag of M&M’s and his/her predictions.
- Counting one color at a time, the teacher will graph the number of each color M&M’s in the respective column (marked in the “x-axis” by a colored circle.)
- The teacher will start with the red M&M’s, then the orange, yellow, green, blue, and brown.
- When the teacher finishes demonstrating the graph, he/she will introduce “M&M’s Fractions” worksheet.
- The teacher will introduce concepts of numerator and denominator to students. (S)he will show how to make fractions out of data they got from counting the M&Ms.
- The teacher will go over several examples of finding the fractions of different colors with students.
- The teacher will observe student participation to make sure that students seem to understand the concept of fractions.
- The teacher will encourage students to work with their partner and check their answers with their partner to make sure that they get the same numbers.
- After all materials are distributed to each group (such as paper and colored pencils), Students will be given approximately 20 minutes to graph their M&M information and find the fractions of each color.
- Students will communicate with each other, observing their sums and the progress of their partner.
- Teacher will observe group discussion and listen to comments made by students (to assess for understanding or difficulty.)
- After around 15 minutes, the teacher will assess the progress of the students and determine whether more or less time is needed. When most of the students are done with both tasks, teacher will reconvene class, leading up to classroom discussion.
As a follow-up activity, students can practice percentages and probability (which color is more likely to be selected if chosen randomly). Students can also interact with one another, comparing data to see the comparisons/differences between their findings and their peers.
This activity is based upon the assumption that students are familiar with compiling information using a manipulative and adding the numbers of each category (total M&M’s and total for each color of M&M’s.) They must also be able to comprehend the idea of numerator and denominator, as well as graphing data using a bar graph. This game provides students a fun and interactive way for the teacher to gain an authentic assessment of the mathematical standards and goals (as listed in “objectives”). This form of authentic assessment is done through the teacher’s observations from walking from group to group during independent practice (playing the game), as well as reading and assessing student understanding through their response writings. Teacher should refer to anecdotal notes taken from this assignment to determine whether further time is needed on this mathematical concept, or if students are comfortable with the application of knowledge in this area, as demonstrated through this assessment.
Additionally, a informal test/assessment can be done using a different form of graphing to test students' knowledge of the concepts discussed.