Teaching Statistics

Skittles Statistics

The school year has begun and our co-op is in full spring. This year I went back to my elementary teaching roots and am teaching a first and second grade math class called Number Ninjas. We had so much fun with this Skittles Statistics lesson.  I hope to continue share some of our lessons along the way- at least the ones I remember to take pictures of!

Skittles Statistics was one of those lessons that I loved doing when I was teaching 2nd grade. Any lesson with candy is sure to be a winner! This is a great lesson to work on probability, statistics and graphing.

Materials Needed: 

Skittles (1 original packet for each student, 2 for the teacher)

Data Sorting Sheet (included)

Individual Graphs (Included)

Group Graphs (included)

Small squares of paper that match the colors of the skittles, or the same color crayons

Orange, green, yellow, purple, red

2 Prediction Charts (make them large enough for the class to use)

Skittles Statistics, probability and graphing

Step 1:

Teacher holds up a bag of skittles and explains that today we are going to be conducting research with the skittles candies that are in the bag.

Question: What can we find out about these skittles? (color, number in bag)

How can we organize these skittles? (color)

Step 2:

Teacher explains that the goal or mission of the class will be to count each skittle and add up the total of each color.

Question: Can you guess which color will be used the most in making the skittles?

Using pre-cut colored squares allow students to make a prediction and add their prediction to the class graph. (This can also be done by coloring in a square on the graph)

probability, data analysis, graphing

Teacher opens 2 demo packets of skittles and sorts the colors for the class to see. Complete a second prediction graph with the class.

Looking at the two prediction graphs, ask students if any of them changed their mind after looking at the two bags of skittles. Why? Or Why not?

Step 3:

Pass out sorting sheets for students and give them each a bag of skittles. Let them open the bags and sort the skittles by color.

sorting, Graphing, probability

Discuss predictions.

Pass out individual graphs and have students record the information. (Teacher may need to explain how to graph) Explain to the students that anyone should be able to look at the graph and tell which color had the most, least, same, etc.

Skittles Statistics probability, graphing

Line graphs up on the wall or floor for everyone to see.

Step 4:

Work in Groups to get group totals. Pass out Group totals Data sheet. Explain to the students they need to work out a procedure to collect data from the whole group. Record the results.

Display graphs for the class to see.

Step 5:

Get the class total. Using the group totals, work as a class to decide how to transfer the group totals to a class graph.


Step 6:

Reflection Questions:

  1. Look at both Prediction graphs: Did the class predictions match the actual totals?
  2. Look at your individual graph, does it match the class graph?

Grab the entire Printable lesson here:

Find All the Number Ninjas lessons here: 

Candy Math


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