Skittle Sort Math

Two third grade students work to sort out Skittles candies in order to make a class graph about their Skittles data. Credits: Clark Public Schools
CLARK, NJ - Ms. Laura Minervini’s third grade class at the Frank K. Hehnly School in Clark started their unit on data analysis this week by having a fun and tasty hands on activity. The students learned the importance of understanding how to interpret different forms of data, and how to relate information to tally charts and bar graphs.
The students were engaged as Ms. Minervini demonstrated how to properly find data in words problems and real world situations and create colorful bar graphs. The class made several tally charts and bar graphs representing the classes favorite foods, colors and exotic pets.
The conclusion to the data unit included a tasty surprise for students in the form of the sweet treat Skittles candies. The student all received a Skittles data packet and baggie of colorful skittles. The students had to sort the Skittles by color, then create a tally chart to represent the number of each color Skittle they had in their bag.
Once students sorted and represented their Skittles in a tally chart they were able to make a large bar graph. One student we spoke to about the activity said, “I really liked counting the different colored Skittles in my bag, and was happy to have the most of my favorite color, red!”.

The students proudly shared their graphs with the class and explained which color skittle was the most prevalent in their bags and which color they had the least. 
Minervini explained that the reasoning behind the Skittle sort activity is to make a cumbersome topic such as data analysis more tangible for the third graders. Minervini said, “the students really begin to understand math concepts when they are incorporated with real life situations and tactile experiences.”
Overall, the class seemed to have a great time diving into data analysis with the help of this tasty and fun hands on activity.

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