Education Technology

Is it Normal?

Activity Overview

In this activity, students will use the idea of a normal distribution to pull together multiple areas of probability and statistics. 


  • Students will explore the relationship between normal distributions and probabilities. They will examine these relationships graphically and algebraically.
  • Students will be asked to use their handhelds to create normal distribution curves to help in their exploration and discussions.
  • Students will try to make a connection with how to understand these topics in IB Mathematics courses and on their final assessments.


  • Bell Curve
  • Standardization
  • z-score

About the Lesson

A normal distribution is a probability distribution that is symmetric about the mean, showing that data near the mean are more frequent in occurrence than data far from the mean. In graphical form, the normal distribution appears as a “bell curve”. In this activity, students will start with basic ideas using means, standard deviations, quartiles, interquartile ranges, and z-scores, then progressing to conditional probabilities.

*Note: This activity includes optional IB support, including the IB Questions download for students who are preparing for the IB Exam.