This is the method Kid Two and his buddy developed last night to share a box of jellybeans:

  1. Carefully pour the jellybeans in a pile in the center of the bedroom carpet.
  2. Sort into piles by color.
  3. Each kid now tastes one jellybean per pile.
  4. During the tasting process, discuss relative deliciousness and rearrange the piles according to agreed flavor rating.
  5. Divide each pile in half to share equally.
  6. If there’s an odd number in a pile, make deals to trade for another flavor jelly bean you like more, or you can split the jellybean in half.

They made some interesting observations along the way. First, they noticed some color variation among beans of the same flavor and thought perhaps the darker colored ones were at the bottom of the bowl when the food coloring was added, therefore having the chance to absorb more color. They also noted their favorite flavors were the more deeply colored ones, leading them to believe that these had more concentrated flavors. Finally, they were interested to see that there were not the same number of beans in each pile. They decided it was because beans of every flavor were added to a common pot before packaging, where they’re then parceled out by weight.

Good critical thinking from a couple of 5th grade boys, I thought.