Probability Activity with CANDY!

This is a great math activity to do after Halloween, or really anytime.

I would recommend this probability math activity for kids in 4th grade (age 9/10) up through middle school. My 6th grader loved it.

In this activity, we’re going to investigate the probability of getting a certain color when drawing a piece of candy out of a bag. Kids generally find probability very fun to learn about because it has applications to games and contests, etc. Plus, math is way more fun when it’s hands-on!

Supplies Needed for Candy Probability Activity:

• A brown paper bag, or something similar
• Wrapped candies in four different colors – we used Starbursts
• Paper for recording the results

Candy Probability Activity Set Up:

The first thing we did was to find 8 candies, 2 each of four different colors. The red and orange look similar in this picture, but there are 2 red, 2 orange, 2 yellow, and 2 pink.

Then we made a recording sheet with each of the four colors.

I asked my son what color he thought we would draw if he reached his hand in and grabbed a piece of candy without looking. He could easily see that we would have an equal chance of drawing each color. So, we’d have a 2 out of 8 (or 1 out of 4) chance of drawing a red, for example.

Then I asked him what he thought would happen in real life. If we really drew candies out of the bag over and over, would we the four different colors equally?

He said, “Well, let’s try it and see!” (I am not making this up! It’s always nice when kids are tracking along and WANT to find out!)

Candy Probability Activity Procedure:

So here’s what we did.

1. Draw a candy (without looking!) and make a tally mark next to that color on the recording sheet.
2. Put the candy back in the back. Otherwise, the odds will change!
3. Shake the bag.
4. Draw another candy.

Here’s how our results looked after 8 draws. Even though we drew 8 times, and there are 8 pieces of candy, we didn’t draw each one! We didn’t have any yellows.

So then we discussed that we had a 1:4 chance of drawing a yellow EACH time. It’s very possible to never draw one!

However, the more times you draw a candy, the more the results should match up with the mathematical odds. So we kept going.

Here are our results after 16 draws.

Now we have some of all four colors! But it’s not quite even yet.

So we kept going to 30 draws, and now look at our results.

Still not 100% even, but definitely getting there! The more data you have, the closer it will get to equal draws of each color.

So then we decided to mix things up and change our odds. We added two more reds to make the odds of choosing a red 2:5.

Here are our results. We definitely drew more red candies!

More Learning Activities with Candy:

Be sure to head over to our M&M’s Math Activities! We have 6 activities with printable worksheets. These are perfect for kids in 1st to 4th grade.

We also have some super COOL science experiments with candy! Print the investigation page.