Each pair of students got a baggie of conversation hearts (to share). First they estimated how many conversation hearts were in their baggie. (Hint: to make decimals & percentages conversion simpler, have 20 OR 25 hearts per baggie) Next, they opened their baggie and counted; sorting by color. Students recorded their findings as a fraction. Remind them to count the total number of conversation hearts (denominator), then each colored set of hearts is the numerator.
Since each baggie had either 20 or 25 hearts, we reviewed how to convert fractions into decimals, then percentages. Multiply the hearts in the baggies with 20 by 5 (thus, making 100%) and multiply the hearts in the baggies with 25 by 4 (thus, making 100%). My kids understood right away how to write as a decimal (out of hundredths), then converting into a percentage.
Once all their findings are recorded, students create a display: pie chart, bar graph, tally chart, or line graph. (When I taught primary grades, students recorded as a pictograph.)
After displaying their data, students were ready to analyze the data. They wrote statements such as: "I have 2/20 pink hearts." or "I have more white hearts than pink hearts because 9/20 > 2/20"
And then of course, students enjoyed eating their conversation hearts, once all the math was complete. (Talk about motivating!)
You can download your FREE copy of this lesson here! Enjoy!