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Compiled By: Mrs. G

A variety of engaging activities to use when teaching the concept of probability.

Probability lessons the kids brag about
Posted by: HEIDI

I introduced probability with a paper lunch bag and about 10 suckers in a variety of colours. (Make sure you have encough suckersfor the whole class at the end of the lesson!) We counted the suckers as they went into the bag and noted how many of each color we had right on the board for all to see. I asked one volunteer to come up (AND WOW WERE THEY EXCITED!). I asked what their favourite color of sucker would be. When they answered, I asked the class what is the probability the volunteer will get that colour of sucker? I told them they had to tell me the answer as a fraction of all the possibilities. There are ten suckers in the bag, so the probability has to be something out of ten. The students figured out that if there were three red ones and the kid wants red, the chances of him getting red are three out of ten. The kid reached in and pulled one out and the class cheered or said AW depending on whether it was the desired colour. I noted on the board which colour was drawn so it decreased the total of suckers available. Another volunteer and we kept going until the suckers were gone. The final draw was pretty simple, they knew what colour they would get and we discussed a probablity of 1 as being absolutely certain, and a probablity of 0 being absolutely impossible.

Kids bragged about the lesson to my principal. Not a bad lesson!

Posted by: Lauren

I have done the experiment where you draw colored tiles from a bag and have to decide on the combination of colors inside the bag based on the number of times that each color has been drawn. They takes turns and record their information, and do the trial 3 times to be sure the data is accurate. You give them 3-4 choices of the combinations and the bag and they have to decide the colors they have.

Something else I have done is have them do an experiment for the "Chewey and Soft" Bubblegum company. You tell them that the company is going to run a contest that gives a free case of bubblegum to anyone who can unwrap, chew up and blow a bubble in 1 minute or less. You collect the data by actually doing this experiment in the classroom. They have to write a letter to the company to explain the outcome, and whether or not the company should run this contest. If the probability of people winning would be too high, the company would lose money. If no one could do it, the contest would not be exciting or effective. I hope these ideas help!

Probability Idea
Posted by: Miss K

I just did a center using Probability. I had the kids roll a die 50 times and tally how many times each number came up. I made a chart for them to fill in and then answer some questions about their results.

I also made a two row chart and had them roll a die 11 times. They recorded their numbers in the first row as they came up, and then in numerical order in the second row.

They had to show the Median, Mode and Range for the numbers. (I gave them the definitons for them).

They seem to really like the center.

math probability
Posted by: Kimberly

I have used a brown paper bag and filled it with 3 green cubes and 1 red cube. The students draw out a cube without looking into the bag. They keep a record of each draw. Then they try to guess how many of each color are in the bag. Then, they check to see how many are in the bag and the chance of drawing each color.

Math ideas
Posted by: Sharon

There is a book called StopThe Watch. It is a book about estimating time and comes with activities and stopwatch. Kids love this idea!

Also, games of probability icluding heads and tails. Each person could flip the coin 20 times and chart the results on a paper.

Probability with spinners. One spinner will have 4 colors evenly divided and one will have four colors unevenly divided. Predict and spin.

Posted by: Jonesy

In my class, I use M & Ms to teach probability. I put two different colors in a bag (I use 2 of one color and 8 of another color to start out). I ask the students which color would most likely be pulled out/which color would most likely not be pulled out? We then reach in the bag 10 times and use tally marks to record our observation. We then talk about why or why not their tally chart matched their prediction. I then ask the question what will happen if I add more of the color that is fewer. We do this several times. This will help the students see that probablity depends on different variables.

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Posted by: M.

I was just going to give that M&M activity. Conversation hearts would be neat too because Valentine's day is coming up! You could have them find the probability of pulling a certain color, message, etc. They could make graphs to (based on the colors) and find the probability. I think they would have a lot of fun.

prob lesson idea
Posted by: Lisa

A few ideas with probability would be using coins, since then there are only 2 possible outcomes and they have to flip the coin and record their outcomes. Another idea would be using brown paper bags and putting different colored unifix cubes in each bag. Again, you could put only 2 colors or more and then have them reach in and pull out a cube and then record and put it back in the bag and pull out another one, etc. recording their results as they go.

kids make their own
Posted by: elephant

I had my students make their own spinners. Each team of 4 had to work together to make several spinners that would show each of these situations: most likely, equally likely, less likely, impossible, certain.

Then, they had to test and graph the results. They LOVED it.

I just punched out circles from the die-cut machine and they colored the sections.

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Posted by: angel77

This is one of my favourite math units.
I always start with showing a clip of Jumangi where Allan is sucked into the game. We talk about what itwill take to get him out of the game and they give their guesses. Then I hand out dice and have them roll until they get the right combination. They have a sheet with the numbers 2 to 12 and they check off as they roll.
We compare answers and then we start with a discussion of why and this leads to probability.
The next acitivity would be with those Valentine heart activities. I have them choose 6 hearts - 3 of one colour, 2 of another colour and 1 of a third colour. These are all placed in a paper bag.
They then make a guess and then pull out a heart. Once they have done this 5times, they guess which colour they will pick the most if they drew 10 times. Then they have to explain their reasoning.
We use dice, cards, pennies ( how many heads vs tails) spinners - all to get them to see what probability is.
At the end they create a game and must discuss the rules and what the probability factor is in their game. We play these on Valentine's Day.

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Stuart Murphy
Posted by: RRay

I like the Stuart Murphy book, Probably is cute, and the children like it. I read it, stop and discuss a section, then go on.

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Play DEAL or No DEAL
Posted by: tillmadd

create a classroom deal or no deal ....put $$$$ amounts on the board with a post-it over it as the suitcase. The kids love it!

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