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This module introduces students to ways of thinking about and working with data using, as a case study, the analysis of 1.69-oz packages of plain M&Ms. The module is divided into six parts:

Part I. Ways to Describe Data
Part II. Ways to Visualize Data
Part III. Ways to Summarize Data
Part IV. Ways to Model Data
Part V. Ways to Draw Conclusions From Data
Part VI. Now It’s Your Turn!

Interspersed within the module’s narrative is a series of investigations, each of which asks students to stop and consider one or more important issues. Many of these investigations draw upon a data set that consists of 30 samples of 1.69-oz packages of plain M&Ms. This case study is meant to serve as an introduction to data and to data analysis and, as with any introduction, it considers a small number of topics; additional resources that provide a deeper introduction to data and to data analysis are listed in Appendix 1 of the case study.


Table of Contents

  • Student Handout (Word, PDF)
  • Instructor’s Guide (Word, PDF)
  • Data Set (Excel, R-File)
  • On-Line Interactive Version (Link)
  • Assessment Questions: For Assessment questions that accompany this module, please contact David Harvey (

Developed by:

Dr. David Harvey
DePauw University

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