Today in statistics class we did a short lab--given a distribution (supposedly from M&M Mars, but I couldn't find it anywhere on their web site) of the colors of M&M's in an ordinary (brown) bag of milk chocolate M&M's, we performed a chi-squared test to determine if that distribution was correct. (Turns out it wasn't, so emailed M&M Mars and asked what the distribution is supposed to be.) For a week I'd reminded students to bring in a small bag of M&M's today, and almost all of them did. In each class we recorded and totaled the number of each color that each student had, and did our calculations based on the class total.
I got to thinking--I know that I couldn't get the school to reimburse me if I had bought them, as there's no way they'd pay for snackies even if I "needed" them for math class. Oh, I could probably get reimbursed for marbles and for the paint to paint them in six different colors, and use those for the lab next year, but that would be about as exciting as watching grass grow. What I need is a way to "sell" our comptroller on the idea of reimbursing me. I need better PR than just "M&M's".
And then it hit me. Consumable manipulatives.
I'm a genius.