Bar Graphs and M&M’s

Bar graph: M&M's by color

Bar graph: M&M's by color


My fourth grade math teacher was brilliant. Yes, fourth grade was a long time ago. You may be wondering how I even remember that far back. I remember because she taught us about bar graphs by giving us candy. (Candy for math? Brilliant!)

After explaining what a bar graph is and how to read one, my teacher went around the room handing out packages of M&M’s. There was only one rule. You could not eat the M&M’s until you collected the needed data.

That assignment was fairly easy. We were to count how many of each color M&M’s were in the package, write down the data, then pull out our crayons and create a bar chart to show the results for our package. (Candy and crayons?! What a fabulous math lesson!)

The results were similar for all of my fellow students. Brown and tan were the dominating colors.

To this day I think of that lesson every time I have M&M’s.

So a few days ago when I found myself in possession of a bag of peanut M&M’s, I got the urge to once again plot the results. As I didn’t have crayons handy, I improvised. You can see my makeshift bar graph in the photo at the beginning of this post.

For this package, blue was the clear winner, surprising since blue didn’t exist that very first time I collected data. Of course, the candy company doesn’t make tan M&M’s anymore either. Trade-offs, I suppose.

Regardless of the results, you have to admit, I had a great teacher if she still captures my attention 20+ years later.

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1 Comment

  1. brandi said,

    Wednesday, March 18, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    lol…so fun!


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