M&M Math

Grade Levels: 3 - 5


  • Students will represent data in a bar graph.
  • Students will learn to extrapolate data from a bar graph.
  • Students will use comparison math terms.
  • Students will average numbers.


  • A large bag of M&M's or anything else that can be divided so that every child has an assortment of about 20 items that can be sorted by different attributes (color, size, shape). There are a number of cereals that work well for these lessons as do colored tiles.
  • Graph Paper
  • Crayons
  • Spreadsheet software (optional)


  1. Give each child a piece of 1/2 inch graph paper, crayons, and about 20 M&M' s.
  2. Demonstrate how to make the X and Y axis, to assign number values, and attributes to them.
  3. The children sort the M&M's by color, counting each color grouping as well as the total M&M's.
  4. Have students arrange the M&M's by color from the most to the least on the graph paper.
  5. Direct the students to convert this data into bar graphs.
  6. Tell the students to write number sentences and less than/greater than statements about their findings.
  7. Have students find the average number of each color for the whole class.
  8. Students can take all of this information, put it into a spreadsheet, and generate graphs on computers.

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