Q&A #667

Teaching probability

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From: Marielouise (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Oct 18, 1998 at 22:10:46
Subject: Re: Teaching probability

I am not sure what the curriculum is for the sixth grade probability but I 
think that I can give you a few ideas.

Have the students take only one suit from the deck, for example hearts. 
Define what is meant by finding the probability of drawing a seven of hearts. 
Since there is only one 7 of hearts out of the 13 cards in heart suit the 
answer is 1/13. What is the probability of drawing a card whose number is 
divisible by three. Have the students find the three of hearts, the six of 
hearts and the nine of hearts. Since three cards would satisfy the answer the 
probability of drawing a heart which is divisible by three is 3/13.

Have each member of the class draw one card from a set of 13 cards. Count how 
many were successful. Ask how this compares to the expected probability. You 
will have to discuss with the students that though the expected probability 
of drawing a seven of hearts from hearts is 1/13, it is possible for 30 
students to draw a card each with none being a seven. 

Having done several of these, put the entire four suits together to get the 
52 cards. Drawing a seven from among the entire 52 cards will now be 4/52 
because there are four sevens in the deck. The interesting thing here is that 
4/52 is the same as 1/13. Why is this true? Will you be doing two actions 
such as drawing a face card (K, Q and J) or a two? Since these cannot have 
the same outcome the answer is 12/52 + 4/52.

If you have further questions, please write back.

-Marielouise, for the Teacher2Teacher service

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