Education Technology

Problem Solving: Exponential Growth and Decay : M&M's Activity

Published on 07/30/2005

Activity Overview

In this activity, students use the TI InterActive!™ to model exponential growth and decay.

Before the Activity

  • Install the TI InterActive!™ on the computer
  • See the attached activity PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity
  • Print pages 1 - 4 from the attached activity PDF file for the class
  • During the Activity

    Distribute the pages to the class.

    Follow the Activity procedures:

  • Place 4 M&Ms in a plastic cup
  • Shake the cup and pour the M&Ms on the table
  • Record the number of M&Ms which show the M mark
  • Add a new M&M for each one with an M showing
  • Using the new total of M&Ms each time, repeat the procedure 5 more times
  • Record the data
  • Prepare a Number of M&Ms versus Number of Trial scatter plot
  • Use the Statistical regressions feature to find an exponential function which fits the data
  • Write the equation and graph it in the same plane
  • Insert a Table and use it to predict the number of M&Ms for a given trial
  • Determine the number of trials needed to have a certain number of M&Ms
  • Set up and solve two simultaneous equations in the standard exponential equation form
  • Compare the results


  • Place around 80 M&Ms in a plastic cup
  • Shake the cup and pour the M&Ms on the table
  • Remove the M&Ms which show the M mark
  • Using the remaining M&Ms, repeat the procedure
  • Create a scatter plot of M&M versus Trial
  • Use the statistical regressions feature to find an exponential function which fits the data
  • Explain the coefficients in the general equation
  • After the Activity

    Students answer questions on the activity page.

    Review student results:

  • As a class, discuss questions that appeared to be more challenging
  • Re-teach concepts as necessary