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Creativity : Smarties Investigation

January 6, 2011

I’ve been running a handling data investigation with two of my classes looking at Smarties [a sweet made by Nestle]. We will be looking at whether the distribution of colours is fair and whether there’s evidence to suggest that the manufacturers are loading the packs with more of one colour than another. (Why might they do that?)


So, part of the topic is intended to look at the key skill of drawing Pie Charts and I struck on a good idea during the lesson. Bar charts must have been invented by someone. Pie charts were invented in 1801 by William Playfair. Diagrams get invented. Maybe my students could create a new sort of diagram that helps display the distribution of colours in the pack of Smarties I gave them.


Even better still, why not use the Smarties to make the diagram?

Here are some of their creations:




I’ll add some more comments/thoughts once you’ve had a chance to look.


From → Uncategorized

  1. Anonymous permalink

    I’ve contacted Nestle and they are unwilling to tell me how they mix their Smarties colours up.

  2. sarah permalink

    This is a great idea and I’m glad you shared it. How many boxes (tubes?) of smarties have you gone through?? Do you let the children eat them afterwards? (After everyone has hand their hands on them?) :-PI was reading recently about a chart <a href="">used by Florence Nightingale</a>–a sort of area pie chart. Interesting.

  3. Grace permalink

    I tried using M & Ms in my classroom for a game once. Much of the chocolates was consumed before I had even started giving instructions. =)

  4. Anonymous permalink

    Hi Sarah and Grace. Thanks for your posts.I’ve done this with two classes this year and so have gone through about 60 (small) boxes.Each student only touches their own smarties so yes, they can eat them afterwards.I was quite clear about the fact that they would get to eat them but they were not allowed to eat them until I said so.THEN I gave the sweets out.

  5. susandowning permalink

    Just found your blog through a retweet on Twitter. I love the Smarties diagrams!

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