Return to Physics IndexProbability

Mary J. Holder Sherwood Elementary School

245 West 57th Street

Chicago IL 60621

(312) 535-0829Objective:

Probability: A number that tells how likely it is that something will happen.

An educated guess. The purpose of this lesson is to introduce children to the

skill of probability. This lesson is designed for grades four and five, however

may be used at any grade level depending on the level and the ability of the

children.Materials Needed:

A bag of ten pennies for every two children, color pencils or markers, graph

paper, six-sided dice, M & M candy (any variety of M & M candies).Strategy:

Teacher's Opening:

I have some candy. I am going to place 5 pieces in the bag. Four will be

yellow and one will be green. Which will be most likely to pick out of the bag?

Which will be least likely to pick? Why do you think? Add more candy to the

bag and several different colors until you reach the number 10.

Activity #1: Coin Toss

Each group will receive a bag with ten pennies, a sheet of graph paper and

markers. On the graph paper will be the following combinations:

HHH,HHT,HTH,HTT,THH,THT,TTH,TTT. The students then will number the left side of

the graph paper from 1 to 10 starting at the bottom. Take out three pennies

from the bag. Throw the pennies 10 times and see which of the combinations will

fall. Shade in the graph according to one of the combinations. Establish with

the students the rules. The penny that falls closest to them is 1st, one in the

middle is 2nd, one farthest away is 3rd. After the ten tries, have one child

from each group come to the front of the class and discuss the outcomes of each

throw. Students will then take the entire bag of ten pennies and make one

throw. Group together all heads and tape together in a line end to end. Repeat

for tails and compare the results.

Activity # 2 M & M

Divide the students into groups of twos. Give each group one bag of M & M. One

sheet of graph paper and markers for the colors of the M & M. Have the students to

write the colors of the M & M at the bottom of the sheet and number the paper on

the left starting at the bottom from 1 to 10. Remove one M & M at a time and

color in that color. Let the students do this for the 10 tries. Discuss the

outcomes with each group of students. Students may use the remaining M & Ms to

complete the graph showing the total number of M & M's in the bag.

Activity #3 Spinner

Give each group a spinner with the numbers 1 through 6. The students are to

take three tries at spinning to see if the spinner will stop on the number 1.

Students then may illustrate or show the results of the spins on the chalkboard.Performance Assessment:

Give each group a bag of M & M peanuts, or peanut butter. Graph the number of

each color and compare the results with the previous activity results.

References:

World Book Encyclopedia; Aims Activity