Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stalking the Wild M&M

Last week, we finished our first science lesson of the semester. It was an introductory lesson on zoology and Ella loved it. She loves animals so she couldn't wait to start this new curriculum. In fact, I was waiting to start it until she finished her science report on Sea Urchins from last semester. The day she finished the report she asked to start the next book. Yay for science!

At the end of the lesson we got to do an experiment on camouflage. It was fun, educational and didn't require a huge shopping list. Plus it involved chocolate...so I'm in. I got this experiment out of Apologia's Land Animals of the Sixth Day: Exploring Creation with Zoology 3 textbook.

So if you're looking for a fun activity for your science days, here's an idea:

1) Dump out a bunch of M&M's (I went with dark chocolate flavored because, um, I'm the mom and I get to pick) and then sort them into color groups. You need to have the same number of M&M's in each group.

2) Create a wild M&M habitat. You'll need a laundry basket or other habitat container and construction paper in three M&M matching colors. We went with brown, green and orange. Yep, we pretty much set those blue M&M's up for failure. Tear the construction paper into strips and then crumple up the strips and toss them into the basket.

3) Mix up the color sorted M&M's and gently scatter them in the habitat. I say gently because if you just dump them in they will all sink to the bottom.

4) Turn your M&M stalker loose to search for as many M&M's as he/she can find in 2 minutes.

5) Count how many of each color M&M was found. Theoretically, your M&M hunter will have located more of the M&M's that didn't have matching construction paper for camouflage, thus demonstrating the important of camouflage for animals in the wild. Theoretically.

We actually had to do this experiment twice because the first time Ella didn't see this as an opportunity for scientific learning as much as she saw it as "Candy, candy, candy!" So the first time she just shoved the paper out of the way and scooped up all the M&M's that fell to the bottom of the basket. But, after a bit more explaining of the purpose of the experiment, and an assurance that she would in fact get to eat some of the captured M&M's, we did it a second time and lo and behold the numbers worked out.

The only downside...the sugar rush that followed. Note to self, Jack should not be given M&M's unless he's outside and has a very long distance to run.


  1. HI there stopping by from HHH and now following:) Hope you will consider following back. We are a gov't family living overseas in the UK at the moment homeschooling 2 kids. I love following homeschooling blogs as there are some great ideas out there, just like the one you have posted.

  2. Stopping by to say "hi" from the Hip Homeschool Hop!

    I love this idea! Thanks for sharing - I have a feeling we'll be replicating it in our way!

  3. I LOVE it. This is a science experiment I think we'll do. I may even invite the kids to participate. Maybe...

    Caught you from the HHHop!

  4. My conscience has gotten the best of me and I though I should tell you I'm giving away chocolate on my blog today...
    In case it's of interest to you.
    Actually - if nobody enters my giveaway I won't be that hurt...I'll just keep the prize.

  5. We've done this exact experiment with Apologia Zoo III. Fun!

    Jessy - HHH

  6. Looks like a fun experiment. Stopping by from HHH.