Beacon Lesson Plan Library
M & M Lab
Citrus County Schools
Here is a delicious way to capture your students' attention. Through the use of M&Ms, this lesson helps students learn about several different types of graphs.
The student creates an appropriate graph to display data (for example, pictographs, bar graphs, line graphs, circle graphs).
-Small bags of M&Ms, one per student and one for the teacher
-Student copies of the M&M Lab (See Associated File)
-Overhead copy of the M&M Lab
-Overhead pens (same colors as the M&Ms)
-Markers or crayons (same colors as the M&Ms)
-Ruler for each student
1. Purchase one bag of M&Ms per student, and one bag for the teacher. Or have students bring in one for themselves at least a day ahead of this lesson so you know they have a bag to work with.
2. Make one copy of the M&M Lab per student, and one overhead copy. (See Associated File)
3. Set up the overhead projector before class begins. Make sure you have overhead markers.
4. Gather necessary markers or crayons, and rulers.
1. Ask the students what they think candy and math have in common. After some guesses, proceed with the lesson.
2. Pull out a bag of M&Ms and ask again what M&Ms and math have in common.
3. Distribute one bag of M&Ms and one M&M Lab per student. (See Associated File) Make sure at this time they have access to markers or crayons, rulers and their pencil.
4. Instruct the students to put their name on the lab sheet.
5. Tell the class they may open and empty their bag of M&Ms, but they may not eat any at this time. Instruct the students to sort their bag of candy by color.
6. On the overhead, put up the trasparency of page one of the M&M Lab. Model, using your bag of M&Ms, how to tally the different colors of M&Ms. (Use the color marker or crayon to represent the color of M&M being tallied--i.e., a red marker for the red M&Ms.) Tell the class that each bag of candy is different and occasionally you may not get one of the colors in a bag. At this time, students need to complete their tally chart, using their M&Ms and markers or crayons. As the students complete the tally chart, the teacher needs to circulate around the room answering questions and giving feedback.
7. Have the class look at the bar graph, problem #2 on the M&M Lab. Model on the overhead how to complete the bar graph. Students may use their markers or crayons to complete their bar graph. (Remind students to use the red marker and/or crayon when graphing data for the red M&Ms, etc.) While the students are working on this, circulate around the class answering questions and giving feedback where needed.
8. Next have the students look at the line graph, problem #3 on the M&M Lab. Once again model on the overhead how to complete this by putting a red dot with the marker or crayon to represent the number of red M&Ms, and a blue dot to represent the number of blue M&Ms. Continue until all the colors are done, then connect the dots to form the line graph. While the students are working on this, circulate around the class answering questions and giving feedback where needed.
9. Instruct the students to look at the pictograph, problem #4 on the M&M Lab. Ask why it is called a pictograph (because it needs pictures). Ask the students about the key. What does the whole M&M picture represent? (Two M&Ms) What does the ˝ M&M picture represent? (One M&M) Instruct the class to finish their pictograph using the colored markers. While the students are working on this, circulate around the class helping and answering questions.
10. At the end of the class, ask the students to get out their Math Journals and make an entry. In this entry they need to describe the different graphs they made. Ask the students to comment on which graph was the easiest one to make, which graph was the easiest one to read, and explain why. The students should include, but are not limited to, the vocabulary in the M&M Lab (bar graph, line graph, pictograph, tally, frequency).
11. When students finish the lab, they can go back and color the rest of their lab sheet and, of course, [eat] the M&Ms.
-Students design experiments and answer questions with the use of the M&M Lab.
-Students collect information from a bag of M&Ms and interpret the results using statistics, pictographs, charts, bar graphs, and line graphs.
Use the rubric in the associated file to assess the students' work. Use the following key to help assess your students:
Commendable: 9-12 points
Acceptable: 5-8 points
See Teacher: 0-4 points
You can also use this lesson with science when going through the scientific process and when gathering and displaying data for science fair projects. It teaches the students how to set up and display the information they are researching.