M and M Math Lesson
M and M Site
Another M and M Math Site
M & M Color Sorting
By: Sherry S. Finchum
M & M Graph
M & M Circles

Instructional Objective:

The students will recognize the likenesses and differences of colors by sorting
a group of M & M candies into color groups using a sorting graph that designates the color group.  100% accuracy is expected for mastery.


Begin the lesson by reading the first half of the book The M & M’s Brand Chocolate Candies Counting Book  by Barbara Barbieri McGrath.  Point out same and different colors on a page as you read through the numerals 1-12.

Give each student a baggie that contains a group of paper M & M’s.  Review color names with the students, asking them to show you a color at your request.  Use the terms “light brown” and “dark brown” to distinguish the values of the browns.

 Say:  “Now we are going to learn how to sort objects by grouping same or like colored objects together.”

Give an explanation of the terms “same” and “different” by using shoes as an example of finding same and different shoes each morning as the student dresses.   It is important to be able to match colors with the clothes we wear each day.


Using a teacher bag of paper M & M flannel board manipulatives in a variety of colors, show the students how to group the objects by same color.

Group the students into small groups of two, three or four.  Show them the color charts and explain that each group will be given a work mat to use for sorting their M & M’s by color.   Distribute work mats and tell each group that they will sort their M & M’s by color onto the correct color circle.

Remember to ask if there are any questions before proceeding.

Instruct students to begin working.  Monitor students as they work in their groups.  Be quick to offer conflict resolutions if needed.
Collect the work mats and tell students that they will be given more practice in sorting.

Independent Practice:

Say:  “Now we are going to sort a group of real M & M candies using these M & M graphing mats to graph M & M candies by color”.

Give each group or individual a graphing mat.  Using the graphs will also introduce the concept of counting the squares to see how many M & M’s are in each group.

Before passing out M & M’s, explain that these M & M’s are not to be eaten, but at the end of the activity they will be allowed to eat some.

Ask students to tell you their findings by discussing what color group has the most candies.

Higher level thinking:  Ask:  “Why do you think that brown has the most candies?”  (Chocolate is the most popular flavor.)


Ask:  “Who can tell me what we learned today using M & M candies?”

Say:  “Yes, we have learned to sort objects by their color.”

Ask students to brainstorm to see if they can think of other objects that could be sorted by color.


One-on-one with students, ask the child to sort by color using counting bears and colored sorting cups.  100% accuracy is required to achieve mastery.


Additional independent practice or reteaching:

Place a large group of paper M & M’s in a center for students to manipulate and practice sorting by color.

Use counting bears, buttons, crayons, and other objects to be sorted by their color.


Sort students by eye color or hair color forming a graph to help count the number in each group.