# Candy Math: Sampling & Inference Lesson – Grades 7-8

*Who doesn’t love learning math with candy?! This engaging, hands on sampling & inference lesson will introduce students to population sampling using Skittles candy.*

As a math teacher, I firmly believe in **teaching math through problem solving and investigation**. This means I try to present an interesting problem or question to students and let them **play around and explore** before we dig into formal definitions or algorithms. And when I can combine an important math topic with Skittles candy? That’s definitely a math win! This lesson starts with a **real life data set related to baseball** in the United States. Students then model the survey using Skittles candy to see **how population sampling can lead to general inferences about the population as a whole**. I hope this provides a fun statistics lesson for your students!

**Materials Needed for Baseball Survey Inference Lesson:**

- Bowl of exactly
**100 Skittles candies**with 25 RED and 75 other colors for**each small group**(or you could do this as a whole class) - Student handouts for each student (grab this FREE using the link at the end of the post)

**Get Students Thinking About Sampling & Inference:**

Before running the experiment in small groups or as a class, present the results of the survey to students: according to YouGov survey of 1,000 adults, **25% of adults** in the U.S. watch baseball on TV.

**Then allow students time to think about and discuss the following questions:**

- Why do you think the organization did not poll every single adult in the United States?
- Do you think these statistics are an accurate representation of the population as a whole? Why or why not?

Oftentimes, statistics are presented as fact and if we’re not careful, we can accept the results as general truths without diving deeper into the methods & sample size used.

The goal of this lesson is to help students see that statistically, using a sample can provide an accurate generalization about the population as a whole, BUT sample size plays an important role.

If the sample size is too small, the results may be skewed.

I hope this provides an important hands on, visual lesson for your students to see where statistics come from and how they can be helpful (or sometimes not so helpful!).

**Setting Up the Statistical Inference Experiment:**

To begin the experiment, students take turns **drawing 12 Skittles** out of the total ‘population’ of **100 Skittles candies**.

They then **create a table of their samples**, noting *how many are red* and *how many are not*.

The goal is to see that because the ratio of reds to the whole population is 1:4, in a sample size of 12, we would **expect 3 to be red**.

Of course, using random sampling, this will not always be the case, so **not every sample accurately models the whole population**.

After running the experiment once, students **answer a set of discussion questions** and **create a histogram** of their data before trying it again, this time drawing a sample size of 24.

The goal then is to see that **in a larger sample size**, a **larger percentage of samples closely model the population as a whole**.

After running the experiment a second time, there are further discussion questions which students can answer on their own, in their small groups and together as a whole class.

**Extension Ideas for the Sampling & Inference Lesson:**

If you have time and your students are interested in exploring further, here are some ideas to extend learning:

- Have students run the same baseball survey with a sample of students at their school to compare results to the given survey
- Discuss how you might use Skittles candies to model the other results of the survey
- Discuss simulations and see how technology can simulate various experiments quickly
- Compare experimental probability and theoretical probability

Most of all, have fun diving into statistics, sampling and population inference together as a class!

*If you enjoy this lesson, become a Math Geek Mama+ member and gain access to the entire library of engaging math lessons like this one, hundreds of math games and low-prep practice worksheets for grades 5-8!*

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**Ready for more statistics & probability lessons? Try one of the resources below!**

- Fun Probability Experiment with Dice {FREE}
- Analyzing Data Worksheet for Middle and High School
- Fidget Spinner Math Activity: Probability & Graphing
- Simple Coloring Probability Worksheets for Grades 4-6 {FREE}

*Want to grab this free lesson? Use the link below to grab it from my shop!*

**{Click HERE to go to my shop and grab the FREE Baseball Survey Sampling & Inference Lesson!}**