Today was an introduction to probability.
On the board, I had typed this sentence: “We are about to start talking about probability.” We had some interesting conversation just from that statement, starting with the whole class asking “What’s probability?” and moving quickly to “I think it’s about making predictions” and “It’s talking about what the chances are that something will happen.” All of this happened after Sahng-Won noticed that probability has the same beginning as the word probably.
Without really going any further, we went through some examples and I jotted down their responses.
After a few, we stopped to define probability as a class. They were getting it!
The next step is where it got interesting. Each kid wrote down one “What are the chances…” question in their notebooks. As they finished, they stood up, locking eyes with another person that’s also standing, becoming instant partners. (This was Great!)
Partners shared their question and wrote down the responses found, free to find a new partner afterward.
The interesting part is that although we had so many different responses as a class to the question I posed about snow in Manila, when they responded to one another, they ALL used percentages!
So we sat down as a class and some people shared two of the responses they got from their classmates. Just responses. Then I asked simply, “What did you notice about the response?” They said things like, lots of people said 100%, 4000% is not a real amount, etc. Then it started dawning on them that all the responses were number based..! So in partners, they were challenged to figure out the “language of probability” using a number line.
They came up with so many descriptors!
Next up, we’ll make predictions and collect data about how many times we roll each side of a six-sided die. The kids will then have an opportunity to create their own probability experiments! Let’s see what they come up with.