Well, for those who think an M&M first-day activity might be promising, here's some information that might add to the fun. It was taken from a little item in the New York Times, 2 April 1995, p.2 (I think that was in the "News of the Week" section--section F???).
First, it shows a display of M&Ms by color, as follows: Brown 30% Yellow 20% Red 20% Tan 10% Green 10% Orange 10% This information was attributed to "Mars, Inc."
People more clever than I could devise an activity in which students are asked to decide whether the evidence from their sample supports or fails to support this breakdown. (Perhaps some more formal analysis could follow later in the year).
The text accompanying this item is brief, and reads as follows:
"Americans face a wrenching adjustment. No, it isn't the death of the New Deal, the fall of Communism. It's--brace yourself--the colors of M&M's. M&M's were born in 1941, in six colors. In 1949, tan replaced violet, and that mix outlasted Elvis, Liberace, even Nixon. But Mars Inc. concluded that people don't like tan and ran a poll to pick a new color. And last week it named the winner: blue (even with Communism dead, people weren't ready for pink; it got just a 10 percent vote). The new mix is due in September. In the meantime, save those tans; they'll be collectors' items (if they don't melt)."
============================================== Bruce King Department of Mathematics and Computer Science Western Connecticut State University 181 White Street Danbury, CT 06810 (firstname.lastname@example.org)