Exploring Math
With Jellybeans
Subjects
 Arts & Humanities
Visual Arts
 Mathematics
Applied Math
Arithmetic
Probability
Statistics
Grades
Brief Description
Jellybean math activities teach estimation, place value, graphing, rounding, and probability.
Objectives
Students will
 follow directions.
 learn/reinforce a wide variety of math skills.
Keywords
egg, jellybean, math, estimation, place value, graphing, rounding, computation, probability
Materials Needed
See the Preparation section of each of the five activities below for specific activity requirements. The following are among the materials that might be needed:
 jellybeans
 math paper and pencils
 bowl
 plastic sandwich bags
 small paper cups
 blindfold
 dice
Lesson Plan
Jellybeans  or jelly eggs  can be used to teach and/or reinforce such math skills as addition, place value, probability, graphing, and estimation. The lesson ideas below can help teach those skills, and can be adapted for use across the grades.
Note: Some students might have allergies to jellybeans or physical conditions that prohibit them from eating jellybeans. At the start of the lesson, inform students that, because many people will be handling them, they should not eat the jellybeans used in the activity. You might provide a separate supply of jellybeans for a small treat at the end of the activity; if you do that, be sure to have an alternate treat for those who prefer it.
Activity 1: Estimation, place value, graphing, rounding, and computation.
Preparation: For this activity, provide each student or pair of students with a small bag of jellybeans. Don't count the jellybeans. All bags should contain a similar  but random  number (perhaps 4060) and color selection of jellybeans.
Following are some math activities students might do with the bags of jellybeans.
 Estimation. Students estimate the number of jellybeans in their bags.
 Place value. Each student or student pair folds a sheet of math paper in half, labels the left side of the sheet TENS and the right side ONES. Students then count out 10 jellybeans on the ONES side of the sheet. Each time they get to 10 jellybeans in that column, they set aside all but one of the jellybeans; they move that one jellybean into the TENS column to represent a group of 10 jellybeans. At the end of the activity, have students figure out how many groups of 10 jellybeans their bag contains. Ask: How many single jellybeans are left over in the ONES column? How many jellybeans did the bag contain in all? In the previous activity, how far off from the actual number of jellybeans was your estimate?
 Graphing data. How many of each color jellybean are in the bag? Students count and chart the number of each color jellybean. They might create a graph  a pictograph, a bar graph, or another type of graph  from the data collected. To integrate technology, have students use the free online Create a Graph tool to create their graphs. Which color jellybean was the most common in the bag? the least common?
 Rounding off and estimation. Students or pairs of students report their final tallies. Record those tallies. Teach students how to estimate the total number of jellybeans by rounding off each tally to the nearest ten. How far off is the estimate that was arrived at by rounding off each student's/group's tally?
 Computation  addition. After students have done the individual/pair calculations, pair each student with another student or each pair of students with another pair. Students then repeat the activities above, combining their data with that of their new partner or pair. After that activity is completed, combine the data to create wholeclass data and display the data in chart and/or graph form. Expand the place value computations above to include a sheet with a 100s column.
Activity 2: Probability.
Preparation: For this activity, provide each pair of students with three jellybeans  two of one color and one of another color  in a small paper cup.
Following are some math activities students might do with the three jellybeans. For this example, we will assume 2 red (R) jellybeans and 1 green (G) jellybean are in the cup.
"Eggspand" on These Jellybean Lessons
Share the book Jelly Beans for Sale with students. The book by Bruce McMillan shows how different combinations of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters can buy varying amounts of jellybeans. Information about how jellybeans are made also is included.


 Ask students which color jellybean they would be most likely to pick if they picked one of the three jellybeans out of the cup without looking. Why do they think they would pick a jellybean that color? (Because two red jellybeans and 1 green jellybean are in the cup, the probability is that they will pick a red one.) Have them do the activity. How many students picked a red jellybean? Did more students pick a red jellybean than picked a green one? Did 2 out of 3 students pick a red one?
 Let students who picked a red jellybean, do the next part of the activity. Ask students to hypothesize about how likely they will be to pick the other red jellybean on their second pick. Why did they come up with that answer? (Because one red jellybean and one green jellybean are now in the cup, the probability is equal, or 50:50, that they will pick a red one.) Have them do the activity. How many the students picked a red jellybean? Did an equal number of students pick a red jellybean and a green one?
 Next, ask students: if you picked the three jellybeans out of the cup one at a time, what are the possible sequences in which you could pick them? (They could pick the two red ones and then the green one (RRG); a red one, then the green one, then the other red one (RGR); or the green one then the two red ones (GRR).) Ask students to hypothesize about which of those three possibilities is most and least likely to occur. Have students divide a sheet of math paper into three columns and, at the top of each column, record one of the three possible combinations of jellybeans.
Have students pick the jellybeans from the cup one at a time and record the results by putting a checkmark in one of the three columns. (For example, if they picked a red jellybean first, then a green one, then to the other red one, they would record a checkmark in the column headed RGR.) Did their hypothesis prove true? Have students share how many times they picked each combination of jellybeans? Do they see a pattern? (Did more students always draw a red one first? Or did the three different combinations occur in roughly equal proportions?) Were the results consistent from person to person?
Activity 3: Advanced Probability.
Preparation: For this activity, show students a bowl of jellybeans. The bowl should contain jellybeans of only two colors  an equal number of each color. For example, the bowl might contain100 black (B) jellybeans and 100 orange (O) ones.
Following are some math activities students might do with those jellybeans.
 Blindfold students one at a time and let them choose ten jellybeans from the bowl. (Tell them in advance that there are an equal number of the two colors of jellybeans.) Then have students predict how many of each color they will pick from the bowl. (The probability is that each student will select the same number  five  of each color.)
 After everyone has selected 10 jellybeans, have the students review the data: How many students selected 5 black and 5 orange jellybeans? 6 black and 4 orange or 4 black and 6 orange? 7 black and 3 orange or 3 black and 7 orange? Have students chart the results of all their selections. Did the results prove or disprove students' hypotheses?
Activity 4: Estimation, graphing, computation, probability.
Preparation: For this activity, show students a bowl jellybeans containing an equal number of jellybeans in four different colors. For this activity, you also need dice, one die per student.
Following are some math activities students might do with the jellybeans and the die.
 Have students estimate the number of jellybeans in the bowl.
 Blindfold students one at a time and have them select 20 jellybeans from the bowl and record the results  the number of jellybeans of each color  in chart and graph form.
 Now that students know how many jellybeans have been removed from the bowl (20 jellybeans times the number of students in the classroom), invite them to look at the remaining jellybeans in the bowl and revise their earlier estimates of how many jellybeans were in the full bowl (made in the first activity in this section). Then have students count the remaining jellybeans in the bowl and add them to the number they know were already removed from the bowl to learn the exact total of jellybeans that were in the bowl originally. Whose first estimate is closest to the correct total? Whose second estimates is closest to the exact total? Were most students' second estimates closer than their first estimates to the actual total? Why might that be?
 Next, have each student roll a die one time and remove that number of jellybeans from his or her pile of 20 jellybeans. Have students write down the number on the die (5, for example) and then roll again. Students should remove that many jellybeans from the remaining pile of jellybeans (3, for example), write down that number, and write the equation to show how many jellybeans they now have (5 + 3 = 8). Students should roll the die again, remove that many jellybeans from the pile, record that number (for example, 2) and write the equation to show what happens when they add the number on the die to the numbers on the two previous roles (5 + 3 + 2 = 10). Students keep rolling the die until no jellybeans remain in the original pile of 20; the equation they've written should add up to a total of 20 or more (for example, 5 + 3 + 2 + 6 + 5 = 21). Students should record how many rolls of the die it took to reach a total of 20 or more. (In this case, it took 5 rolls of the die.)
Note: If you teach younger students, you can set the final total at 10 (instead of 20) or any other number.
Have students repeat this activity at least three times. Each time, they should write an equation and record the number of rolls of the die it took to reach a total of 20 or more. Compile the data to determine: How many times students reached a total of 20 or more in four rolls of a die; in five rolls; in six rolls; in seven rolls; in more rolls. From that data, students should be able to discern the probability that they might achieve 20 in four rolls, five rolls, six 6 rolls, seven rolls, or more. You might have students redo the experiment to reveal whether or not those probabilities hold true in the second round of rolls. Questions you might ask students to think about include: What is the fewest number of rolls it would take to reach a total of 20? The most rolls? Have students explain their responses.
For additional curriculum fun with jellybeans, see the lesson Integrating Math Into a Spring Thematic Unit.
Assessment
Develop a short quiz to see if students mastered the concepts taught/reinforced in this lesson.
Lesson Plan Source
Education World
Submitted By
Gary Hopkins
Click for more eggthemed lessons in this week's Lesson Planning article, Five "Eggstraordinary" Lesson Plans: Just Add the Eggs!
Don't miss more lessons in a previously published article, Why All the EGGScitement About EGGS?.
Last updated: 04/12/2017