Lesson Plan:

Food Fractions: What are the Odds?

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July 22, 2015
by Theresa Talley

Learning Objectives

Students will use fractions to state probability from known quantities and make predictions from a random sample.


Introduction (5 minutes)

  • Gather students and hold up the bag with colored items inside.
  • Tell students what is in the bag and what colors the items come in. Write these colors on the board.
  • Ask students what color they predict will be pulled out first.
  • Have a volunteer to pull out one of the items. Put a tally mark by that color on the board. Repeat this process until all of the items are pulled out.

Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (10 minutes)

  • Empty the bag of items to demonstrate probability and fraction data charting.
  • Ask students what the probability, or likelihood, is of pulling out a certain colored item from this set. Explain that the set is the known quantity of all items. Explain that by pouring all the items out, you are able to count the whole set.
  • Say that the best way to display probability is by using a fraction, or the likelihood of a certain outcome happening over the total number of possible outcomes.
  • Refer to the tally marks on the board to create probability fractions for all of your items.

Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (10 minutes)

  • Distribute the Bag O’ Stuff: Fruit worksheet and give directions.
  • Explain that this is a set like we investigated with the bag and we will write answers to what is in the fruit bag by counting each fruit and writing it as a fraction.
  • Do the worksheet as a whole group.

Independent Working Time (15 minutes)

  • Distribute the Food Fractions: What are the Odds? activity sheet and small cups of M&Ms to each student.
  • Read the directions and ask if there are any questions.
  • Rotate around the room to monitor understanding.
  • When students complete the activity, allow them to eat the candy.



  • Enrichment: If time allows, early finishers can conduct more M&M pouring trials.
  • Support: Assign peer mentors to assist with the independent practice activity page.


Assessment (10 minutes)

  • Collect the activity sheets after closing session and assign percentage grade for completion, participation, and accuracy of fraction amount answers.

Review and Closing (10 minutes)

  • Gather students to share results of activity sheet.
  • Ask students how sharing our results as a whole group can help us to make better predictions about the distribution of colors in M&Ms if the experiment was repeated. Example answer: More sampling results can give a better idea of what colors occur more or less often in bags of M&Ms.

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