A Recipe for Air

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Learners use M&Ms® (or any other multi-color, equally-sized small candy or pieces) to create a pie graph that expresses the composition of air. They compare the composition of the air next to a power plant to that of unpolluted air. This activity is part of a larger lesson, "What's Air Got to Do with It?"

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Plain M&Ms® candies (or any other multi-color, equally-sized small candy or pieces)
  • 8.5" x 11" blank white paper
  • Colored pencils or markers


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Atmosphere
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Environmental Engineering
  • Life Sciences
    • Ecology
      • Human Impact
  • Mathematics
    • Number and Operations
      • Fractions
  • Physical Sciences
    • States of Matter
      • Gases

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Kolenbrander, Amy ; Kotys-Schwartz, Daria ; Yowell, Janet ; Mach, Natalie ; Schaefer Zarske, Malinda ; Carlson, Denise

Source Collection

  • TeachEngineering


  • All rights reserved, Regents of the University of Colorado, 2004