Diversity Beans - Exploring Diversity with Math - Grades 6-8 (Lesson Plan)

Diversity Beans - Exploring Diversity with Math Lesson Plan (Grades 6-8)

Objective: Use Math to explore diversity.

Materials Required: Approx. 1.5 oz of Diversity Beans per student.


A. Introduce the diversity beans to the class, explain that there are 6 different colors (black, white, orange, green, yellow, and red) and six flavors (cinnamon, orange, root beer, coconut, sour apple, licorice, pineapple, grape, huckleberry, cherry, lemon, and lime).

B. Divide the class into six groups.

C. Count the beans and have the students determine how many beans should be given to each group to evenly divide the beans.

D. Divide the beans by making six piles that are approximately equal in size and give each group a pile.

E. Have each group count their beans and determine the fraction of the original beans that they have.

F. Have each group estimate how many beans of each color are in their piles.

G. Discuss the concept of fractions and that each color should be 1/6 of the total.

H. Have each group count the number of beans in each color for their pile.

I. Have them express the number of each color bean as a fraction of the total number of beans their group received and as a fraction of the original total amount of beans (Note: fractions should be reduced where possible).

J. Have the class add the fractions of each color per group together to get the original fraction of each color out of the total amount.

K. Ask the class to match color to flavor for the beans.

L. Have the class choose a color/flavor that they want to taste.

M. Have each student take a bean of the chosen color and taste it.

N. Record the results of the flavors tasted as fractions of the total amount tasted.

O. Repeat for the other five colors and record the results as fractions.

P. Add the flavors by fraction to determine the fraction for each flavor of all the beans tasted.

Q. Make a 12x6 matrix on the board and fill in the spaces with the fraction of total beans tasted for each possibility.

R. Have the students determine what the expected values for each combination are and compare the expected values to the actual results obtained.

S. Lead the class in a discussion of expected values versus experimentally obtained values, explain the concepts of probability and statistics.

T. Ask the class to write a list of how many different ways people can be classified (sex, color, nationality, ethnicity, religious beliefs, age, marital status, tall, short, brown hair, blue eyed, extroverted, shy, talkative, etc).

U. Ask the class to try to put together a matrix that would cover all the possibilities.
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