Q&A #316

Teaching probability

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From: Susan (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Mar 17, 1998 at 15:11:21
Subject: Re: Teaching probability

Jon, Not knowing what grade level you are teaching will make my answer a bit general, but first let me suggest an excellent resource: <I>Math By All Means: Probability, </I>by Marilyn Burns. Start by developing the language with children. Ask questions like: "If someone said it is POSSIBLE that it will snow, what would they mean?" or "Can you be CERTAIN that everyone will be in school tomorrow?" Get the kids to develop sentences for words like possible, likely, probably, impossible, certain, maybe, and so on. Make a chart of "PROBABILITY WORDS" to post and add to as your lessons progress. Have three columns on a chart: CERTAIN POSSIBLE IMPOSSIBLE - brainstorm things that would fit in each column and make the kids prove them. I like to limit the younger ones, at first, to things that happen in school, or you'll get too much information. Let me know your grade level and I'll try to refine some activities for you. Good luck! Susan

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