Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Environmental Mathematics

Kenneth Blackman
Santa Rosa District Schools


The students will explore what food sources are needed to survive in the wild. Then the students will plot on a graph the best food sources for their environments and the survivability rate for each member of their group.


The student reads and interprets data displayed in a variety of forms including histograms.

The student constructs and interprets displays of data, (including circle, line, bar, and box-and-whisker graphs) and explains how different displays of data can lead to different interpretations.


- Colored Toothpicks
- Graph paper
- Markers
- Paper
- Pencils


1. Sort the toothpicks by color and place them in the -habitat area-. The same number of each color must be used.The habitat area will consist of a flat 30 ft by 30 ft piece of land. There will be four different colors of toothpicks used and 15 toothpicks per color.
2. Make sure all needed materials are available for use in the classroom.


1. Discuss with the students what foods may be contained within a certain habitat and why some food sources are more easily utilized than other.
2. Discuss the roll of camouflage and how it affects the environment.
3. Review with the students how to convert a fraction into a percent and how to plot data on a bar graph.
4. Divide the class into groups of four.
5. Take the students outside where each member will -fly- over a certain area designated as the food plot. One at a time, have each member of the group get as many of the colored toothpicks as possible in the time allowed. (The toothpicks were placed in the area before class started.)
6. Take the students back in the classroom and allow each student to count how many toothpicks they retrieved and record the data.
7. Now tell each group to count the total number of toothpicks by color.
8. Tell the students to develop a bar graph comparing the different colors of toothpicks.
9. Discuss with the students what color was the best camouflage.
10. Have the students developed bargraphs comparing the number of toothpicks obtained by each group member.
11. Have the class calculate survivability rates for each member of the group .
12. Allow each group to present their graphs to the class.
13. Review with the students what each graph represents and what member of each group has the best chance for survival.


The students will be assessed by class participation and the grading of the bar-graphs.The bar graphs will be graded for correct labeling, consistant scaling, and correctly showing the relationship between each color of toothpick.
Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.