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A Math lesson on percents and fractions




5, 6, 7  

Kerrin Koederitz

T 267 lesson plan


Title: M&M lab

Topic Areas: percent fractions

Grade Level: 5th – 7th


1. Students will practice computing percentages.

2. Students will compare percentages.

3. Students will practice computing fractions.


Students will work in pairs for the M&M lab and each pair of students will need:

- M&M lab materials, worksheets

- a bag of M&M’s

- a calculator

- markers or crayons – brown, yellow, orange, red, green, blue


Time: This activity is designed to take approximately one class period, 45 minutes. It can be lengthened or shortened depending on the amount of class discussion

Anticipatory Set

1. Divide students into cooperative learning groups, such as each table, group of desks, etc.
2. Have students pair up, so that each student has a lab partner.
3. Each pair of students will need to make sure that they have the following materials:

- lab worksheets a bag of M&M’s a calculator markers or crayons

4. Prepare students for activity by discussing fractions and percents. Pose questions to the students such as:

-What is a fraction?
Possible explanations include part to a whole, etc.

-How do we find a fraction?

-What is a percent?

-How do we calculate percents?

-How are fractions and percents related, i.e. how can we use fractions to calculate percents?

5. Give directions. Explain the lab and the different activities involved in the lab.

6. Demonstrate the tasks required in the lab, such as computing percents.

7. Ask the students if they have questions over the lab before they begin.

Concept Development / Activity

1. Sort M&M’s according to color.

2. Calculate the number of each color of M&M’s and record the data on the first lab sheet, according to the corresponding space for each color.

3. Graph the number of each color of M&M’s on the graph by using crayons or markers to color in the amount of M&M’s

4. After students have graphed the number of each color of M&M’s calculate the total number of M&M’s.

5. Discuss with students the information that the Mars Company provides, and have students solve problems using this information. Record this data on the appropriate lab sheet.

6. Have students compute fractions for each color of M&M’s in their bag. Record this data on the lab sheet.

7.Have students compute the percent of each color of M&M s in their bag. Record this data on the lab sheet.

8. Have the students share their group’s information.

9. Record this information on the chalk board so that all students can see it, and have students record this information on the appropriate lab sheet.

10. Have students use each individual group’s data to compute class results. Record these results on the appropriate lab sheet.

Discussion Questions

These are questions that can be used throughout the activity.

1. What kind of answers did you compute?

2. How do you think your results will compare to other students’ results?

3. Given your results for one color of M&M’s can you make predictions or estimates related to the fractions / percents for other colors of M&M’s

4. What laud of results d – id you expect to get?

5. Why do you think you got these results?


1. Use the data students computed and compare the results of individual colors by using greater than, less than or equal to problems. (problem examples on lab sheets)

2. Use data collected for each individual color and solve mathematical problems such as the number of blue M&M’s plus the number of brown M&M’s. (problem examples on lab sheets)

3. Have students create their own problems using the data collected from their M&M lab and share those problems with the class.


1. Have students discuss class data and results.

2. Have students discuss their findings from the lab, and compare that data to data provided by the Mars Company. How true are the percentages that Mars provides?

3. Review the math concepts practiced in the lab – - fractions, percents.

4. Ask students to discuss the relationship between fractions and percents

5. Have a student / group discussion about the overall lab, i.e. which tasks were difficult, which concepts were unclear, what areas need to be reviewed so that students have a better understanding.


A formal evaluation can be used by checking each student’s lab sheets. A more informal evaluation that can be used for this activity is one of the extensions suggested. Have students use data and concepts learned from the lab to create their own M&M problem. Have the students share these problems with the class and explain their problem. Through the explanation students should demonstrate their understanding of the lesson.


source: Debbie Flores

Learning Specialist

Rock Bridge Senior High School

Columbia, MO

source: Mars Company

Hackettstown, NJ 07840 – 1503

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