Computation and Estimation: Alphabits

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In this math lesson, learners apply the concepts of ratios and percentages to the distribution of letters contained in a box of Alphabits® cereal. Each learner is given a sample of cereal from the cereal box. Learners tabulate the number of times each letter of the alphabet occurs and the total number of letters included in their sample. Using this information, learners turn their totals into fractions, ratios, and percents. Next, all of the individual totals are compiled into class totals. As with the individual totals, these class totals are used to form fractions, ratios and percents. Based on their mathematical results, learners make observations and reflect on the process used in the investigations.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)


  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
      • Probability
    • Measurement
      • Rate
    • Number and Operations
      • Fractions

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, PBS, 2012

Funding Source:

  • US Department of Education