Literature Connections:

The M&M's Brand Chocolate Candies Counting Book by Barbara Barbieri McGrath

Mathematical Strand:

Data, Analysis, and Probability


Students will use estimation skills and gather data and record their findings

Grade Level:

First Grade

Lesson created by:

Jeanie Glessner

Lesson Description:


  • The M&M's Brand Chocolate Candies Counting Book by Barbara Barbieri McGrath
  • Snack bag size of M&M candies (one per group), Inside a bag of M&M's activity page that can be created by the teacher (made like a table with estimates of each color, as well as total on one side and the actual numbers listed on the other side), graph paper, class graph prepared by teacher


  1. Engage: Students Explore: Students are divided into pairs. Each pair will receive a copy of the activity page and a snack size bag of M&M's. Ask students to estimate the total number of candies in the bag and the number of each different color of candies. The estimates will be recorded on the activity sheet.
  2. Students can then open the bag and count the candies. Students then need to sort the candies by color. Answers should be recorded on the activity sheet. Students will make comparisons to their estimates and the actual numbers.
  3. Class discussion will take place by the teacher asking if each bag contained the same number of candies. Did each bag contain the same number of each color of candies?
  4. Students will also be asked to graph their results using graph paper. Students will then come to the carpet area to complete the class graph, using data from each pair of students.
  5. Elaboration: Using the class graph, the students will determine which color candy has the greatest number. The teacher will also ask questions in relation to "more than" and "less than" comparing two different colors.

Extension: Students could develop algorithms using the numbers recorded on the activity sheets. Students could also write a persuasion letter to the candy company, asking that they change the student's least favorite color to the student's favorite color

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