Education Technology


Published on 06/09/2008

Activity Overview

Students examine predictable outcomes of events such as flipping a coin or rolling a dice. They see that these events repeated many times form a pattern of distribution. They explore the probability concepts of most likely and least likely.

Before the Activity

  • See the attached PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity
  • Print pages 85 - 100 from the attached PDF file
  • During the Activity

    Distribute the pages to the class.

    Follow the activity procedure:
    Activity 1: Multiply or Add to get a Larger Number

  • Roll three dice and list the rolls as - a, b, and c
  • Predict if the outcome will be a x b > b + c or a x b < b + c or a x b = b + c
  • Use the calculator to simulate the roll of three dice and record the results in a table
  • Calculate a x b and b + c
  • Repeat 20 trials and analyze data collected
  • Find the percent of each instance and the probability of each outcome
  • Identify the "most likely" outcome and the "least likely" outcome

  • Activity 2: Flip Five
  • Predict the probability of getting exactly three heads, at least 3 heads, and no more than 3 heads when five coins are flipped
  • Use the calculator to simulate flipping five coins and record at least 20 flips
  • Record the data in a table and tabulate the number of heads in each series of flips
  • Compare the prediction with the experimental results
  • Use a tree diagram along with the list of possible outcomes to find the theoretical probability

  • Use other elementary school activities to develop an understanding of probability
  • After the Activity

    Review students results and re-teach concepts as necessary.