Candy Activity.

Date January 2006
Class 8th grade
Teacher Becky Bruening

Candy and Apples
I added one more problem to the sheet, which seemed to work well.  If I did it again I might even add more.  It seemed to take them the first problem just to figure out how to go about solving it.  It would have been nice if they could have had  few more at the end to really feel like they had mastered it.
I used M&M’s and gave each student a long sheet of paper towel to use as a work area.  They drew circles representing the people and then arranged the M&M’s to meet the requirements.   If I did the activity again I would also want more room to work.  (At the time I had a student recovering from an asthma attack in my room, so tried to use a computer lab.  It does NOT work well trying to work in small spaces, and a desk may not even be large enough either depending how big they draw their circles).  The students who seemed to have the most problems did not draw their “people” in a line but placed them all over the paper.  This made the problem much harder to work and evaluate.
One group flew through the problem and were done in record time.  I made them “assistants” and discussed their strategy at the end.  I would definitely use this activity again.

Date Nov 5, 2005
Class Algebra and 7th grade
Teacher Patti Bailey

When the 7th graders were discussing mean, median and mode, I used the candy activity when they were given these pieces and they needed to come up with the set of data.  They ran with it.  I had them in groups of 4 and they were quite successful in a short amount of time.  Looking at the class as a whole, I found this quite interesting. 

I now am covering this concept with my algebra kids.  I gave it to one class that is very small.  They only had 2 kids per group.  I figured they were more advanced and didn’t need as much help.  It was very interesting to see that the 2 students that have the highest average in the class by a couple of percentage points paired up and didn’t come up with an answer at all.  The other students had more difficulty than the 7th graders did, however, they figured it out. 

I also made some observations that were similar while using the algeblocks.  The students that are very book smart have difficulty looking at problems in different ways.  The students that get it quickly really hate the manipulatives.  They don’t understand how they are supposed to help anyone because they themselves are perplexed by them, they struggle with the concept of what they are trying to show and just verbally ask…when can we do it the easy way (meaning pencil and paper)??!! 

This activity is awesome and I will use it each time I do central tendencies.  I am also looking at making up a new set of data so they have other similar problems to solve on their own.