Daily Archives: October 25, 2013

This is the second post in a trilogy!  Read the first post here.  And when you’re done with this post, read the last post here.

Have you been counting chocolate?


Did you eat the chocolate you counted?

Even better!

If we pick up where we left off last week, you’ll recall the M and M debacle (the debacle being the fact that my children fought, not the fact that I fed them chocolate before 8am)!

You remember the fight, don’t you?  You know, the one where my daughter said it wasn’t fair that her brother got all the colors of the M&M’s in his bag and she didn’t?

Then, I asked you to try to figure out how likely that situation was to occur?  And then . . . I asked you to buy lots and lots of M&M’s?

Well, did you?  I did!

See . . .


The question that led to all of this M&M consumption was “How likely is it that a bag of fun sized M&M’s will contain exactly two colors of M&M’s?”

I asked you to start by looking at a sample of M&Ms.

My sample contained 17 bags of fun sized M&M’s and 299 candies.    When collecting the data to answer this question, I did two things.

1) Counted the total number of M&M’s in the bag.

2) Counted the number of each color of M&M in the bag.

My piles looked like this:

photo copy photo

And the data I collected looked like this:

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 1.33.28 PM

If you look closely, you’ll see that many times during the data collection phase I opened a bag of M&Ms that was missing one color.  In fact, this particular event occurred approximately 35% of the time.

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 1.36.03 PM

And when a color was missing, 33.3% of the time it was the blue or brown M&Ms that were missing and 16.67% of the time it was the orange or yellow M&Ms that were missing.

In my study, two or more colors were missing 0% of the time.

Considering this data, it seems very, very unlikely that my daughter would have opened a bag of M&M’s containing only two colors of M&M’s.  In fact, in my data collection this occurred 0% of the time.

So, here’s my next question; since the instance my daughter described happened 0% of the time during my study does it mean it will never happen?  How do you know?

Could I use this data to make an educated guess that my daughter my have just been picking a fight with my son, and that her bag of M&M’s did, in fact, contain more than just two colors of M&M’s?

To be continued . . .