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Monday, April 15, 2013

Graphing with M&Ms!

With the state tests coming up, my fourth graders were needing a little overview of graphing. They have been doing a lot of test prep in their classrooms and were in desperate need of a pick-me up. Cue the M&Ms! We are supposed to be trying to be more healthy at my school, so I don't use candy too often.  This was an extra special treat!

I started by separating the M&Ms into individual baggies for each student in my intervention group. For this group, I wanted to go through the activity together, so I gave each student the same assortment of M&Ms.

Students began by sorting the M&Ms by color and recording the amounts in the data table. We created the bar graph first. We made sure to add a title and identified the labels for our x- and y-axes. Then, we choose our scale for the graph and filled in the data. For our second graph, we completed the line plot. Once again, we made sure to add our title and labels. Then, we plotted our data. We completed the pie graph last. This required some reasoning to create the correct sized sections.

After completing the graphs, we identified the mean, median, mode, and range using our data table. (I chose to focus on the amounts - ex. 4, 6, 7, instead of the colors themselves.) Since there are six M&M colors, there are an even amount of numbers. You could remove a color to make an odd amount if your students are not ready for finding the mean of data with an even amount of numbers.

Then we answered four questions about the data. With the first two questions, I wanted to make sure my students understood more than just how to find mean, median, mode, and range. I wanted them to explain what exactly the concepts stood for. The last two questions focus on analyzing the data.

If you would like a copy of this activity, click here, or on the images above. Do you have any fun ways you review graphing with your students?

Also be sure to check out this great giveaway I am participating in, hosted my blogging buddy Jivey! 

Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday


  1. What a fun and engaging activity! It's activities like this that make me miss teaching math. Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. I love how you have your students take a given set of data and transfer that into 3 different types of graphs. This is definitely a time saver!
    When you mentioned your school trying to being more healthy you made me think of my own school district. I remember last year after testing we were given granola bars to pass out to the students as a snack. Many of my kiddos had NO IDEA what it was and were hesitant to even try them. I'm happy to say that in the end many of them did eat the bars and actually liked it. But I must say, even though I myself try to eat healthy, I do enjoy a good bag of M&M's every once in a while too!
    :0) Melissa
    More Time 2 Teach

  3. This is super cute lesson! I can totally see it working with my first graders on a smaller scale! What a good idea to separate the M and M's before starting the activity!

    Thanks for sharing this!

    PS I'm your newest follower!

    Learning to the Core

  4. Looks like fun. I like how you have a few different types of graphs on one page. Isn't teaching with food the best?

    Everyone deServes to Learn

  5. Love the multiple representations! I'm featuring this post on Bagels and Blogs tomorrow. :)

    Math Coach’s Corner

  6. Hi Amy,
    Looks like fun! It is amazing how a few M&Ms can make the lesson so engaging and at the same time provide a meaningful experience for the students. Found your post from Donna's Bagels and Blogs.

    The Math Maniac

  7. Hi Amy!

    I found you on the Manic Monday post for this week! I am your newest follower! Love this M&Ms idea - my kids would love it! :)

    Mrs. Beattie's Classroom

  8. Great lesson! I found you on Bagels and Blogs. I'll be back for sure!


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