Literature Connection:

"Colors" a poem by Shel Silverstein

Mathematics Strand:

Data and Probability


Students will look collect data, graph it, and use the data to find measures of central tendencies, and find probabilities.

Grade level:


Lesson Created by:

Shannon Kent, Fort Riley Middle School, Fort Riley, KS

LESSON Description


  • poem: "Colors", paper and pencil, graph paper – one per group of 3 students

1. Engage:

  1. Read the poem "Colors" to the students. Ask each student what color they would use to explain themselves on the inside.
  2. Ask students to share their favorite color, and post the responses on the chalkboard.

2. Developing the Lesson:

  1. Within their groups, have students graph the information about the favorite color choices of their peers.
  2. When they have graphed the information, ask the students to find the landmarks of data (mean, median, mode). Students should use problem-solving skills to decide which landmark is the best representation of the class's color choice.
  3. Have students use their data to find percentages of students who like each color.
  4. Students should analyze the data they have just found by explaining any patterns they see, or by making predictions about color choices for other classes, teams, or grade levels.

3. Closure/Discussion/Elaborate:

  1. Review with students, probability – the many different ways in which it can be expressed, and how you can find it.
  2. Have the students do various probability questions...i.e.: What is the probability that a student will be chosen at random, and his/her color choice is green...etc.

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Copyright 2001 S.Ma.R.T.Books and Kansas State University