Teacher2Teacher Q&A #19991

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Dependent & independent events

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From: Kristina Newtown

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2009050509:17:32
Subject: Why not together?

I guess I am surprised that these two topics are not taught in unison. In our district, probability is first taught in 6th grade, then again briefly in 7th and 9th. Not at all in 8th (Not sure why the disjoint, there.) Regardless, we teach both independent and dependent events as early as 6th grade. Why not? At this age, students are willing to physically act out the experiement. They can roll die and chose cards with little difficulty, and actually find it fun at the same time. Our 6th grade teacher, offers various activities in which the students must explore the difference between independent and dependent events, with and without replacement, at the most simplistic level. For instance, what is the probability of choosing a red marble followed by a blue marble from a bag if there are 6 red marbles and 4 blue marbles to begin with and you do not replace the first marble. By acting out the experiment, students are able to physically count the number of favorable outcomes compared to the total number of possible outcomes at each step and then to follow the mathematics of multiplying factions from there. I do not know how much time, your curriculum allows for the study of probability but I would imagine that the ninth grade teachers would love it if you could touch on dependent events while studying independent events.

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