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Three Bean Salads

Source Institutions

    Lawrence Hall of Science

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Three Bean Salads

This game teaches ratio and proportion by having learners make "salads" that combine three types of beans in different combinations. The recipes are written as word problems, such as "2 Lima beans/Twice as many Red beans as Lima beans/ 10 beans in all." The introduction page explains ratio and proportion, and connects the idea of proportion to algebra. This activity explicitly encourages trial and error. There are eight different recipes, and an extension to create new salads and write instructions for someone else.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Game

English, Spanish

Materials List (per student)

  • 3 types of dry "beans": Red beans, Lima beans, Black-eyed peas
  • Paper plates or paper cups to hold small portions of beans


  • Mathematics
    • Algebra
      • Patterns
    • Number and Operations
      • Fractions
    • Problem Solving
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Foreign language versions of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection:

  • Science After School Consumer's Guide


  • All Rights Reserved, The Regents of the University of California, ©1986


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