M&M Spreadsheets: A Tasty Way To Learn

external image m_and_m.gif
Graphing Colorful M & M’s Using Excel 2003


  • Individual serving bags of M & M’s or similar candy
  • EXCEL or similar spreadsheet program
  • Prediction Sheet

Prior to Computer

  • Predict the number of the different colors of M & M’s in the bag and the total number. Record these numbers on a separate sheet or chart.

Spreadsheet Preparation

  1. Go to Start, programs, teacher and click Microsoft EXCEL.
  2. In cell A1, type the word color. Press Tab. In cell B1, type the word number.
  3. In cell A2, type the word blue. Press Enter.
  4. In cell A3, type the word red. Press Enter.
  5. In cell A4, type the word yellow. Press Enter.
  6. In cell A5, type the word orange. Press Enter.
  7. In cell A6, type the word green. Press Enter.
  8. In cell A7, type the word brown. Press Enter.
  9. In cell A8, type the word Total. Press Enter.

Counting and Recording Data

  1. Open the M & M’s, count the blue ones and type the number in cell B2.
  2. Count the red ones and type the number in cell B3.
  3. Count the rest and record your results in column B.
  4. Highlight cells B2 to B7. Go to the toolbar and click the AutoSum button. The total number of M & M’s should appear in the column.

Formatting Chart

  1. Highlight cells in your chart A1 to B8. Right click on top of the chart.
  2. Click Format Cells from the pop-up menu.
  3. Click the Font tab and change to Arial 14.
  4. Click the border tab and apply a border.

Applying Chart Wizard

  1. Go to the toolbar and click the chart wizard button.
  2. Place the insertion marker under the chart and click to begin the wizard.
  3. There are four steps. Click Next for Step 1.
  4. Step 1 shows all the different graphs. The column graph is highlighted. We will use it.
  5. Click Next to go to Step 2. We will stick to these default settings.
  6. Click Next to go to Step 3. Under the title tab type in a title such as Colorful M & M’s.
  7. Type in the word Color for the category of axis x.
  8. Type in the word Number for the value of axis y.
  9. Look at the other options under the other tabs for more information. Check out Show Table Data!
  10. Click Next to go to step four. Select the default, As Object in Sheet.
  11. Click finish. Move the handle bars on the graph to expand to the desired size.
  12. Click the magnifying glass to view your work. Click close.

Formatting the Graph

  1. Double click on the bar that represents blue to highlight the bar.
  2. Click two more times to select that bar only. Handle bars will appear only on that bar.
  3. With the bar selected right click and select Format Data Point.
  4. Click the color blue and then click OK.
  5. Click and highlight each individual bar. Then right click and select Format Data Point to choose colors.
  6. To format the legend or titles. Click and highlight and then right click to get the options. Borders can be formatted as well as text.

Adding a Header or Footer

  1. Click the magnifying class and then click Setup.
  2. Go to the Header/Footer tab.
  3. Click Custom Header and add a title. Ex: Colorful Candy
  4. Click OK and then select Custom Footer.
  5. Type your name for the footer and then click OK. Click close.
  6. Save and print your chart with graph.

Prediction Sheet

Use the prediction sheet with upper grade students. Check out an example of a graph.


Here is a sample of the assignment with instructions: