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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Will We Have Fun in Math Class? It's Very Probable!

This week we began a new topic in math class - data collection/analysis and probability. This challenging concept is actually very fun to teach, and is often one of the favorite math units for the students. I have a collection of great games and activities which will encourage our mathematicians to collect real, meaningful data - and to organize/analyze that data to draw conclusions and explain what they've learned.

We started our theme as we often do - with a great book. This is one of my favorites:
















We then started collecting data for one of the simplest ideas - using a coin, we played a partner game called Heads and Tails. One child was "heads" and one child "tails". Flipping a coin would tell students which coin could move. If the "tail" penny got to the tail of the snake before the "head" penny got to the head of the snake, a tally would be added to the simple H/T data collection table on the chalkboard.

After playing for a couple days, we noticed that there were many more tally marks in the "tails" column. We talked about why that might be. Several children could articulate that "It's just chance! Each time you flip the coin it could be either!"

As we continue to play this game, we will see if the columns become more equal.


From here, we will move to one-dice games and then two-dice games. We will also read a chapter or so of a chapter book called Do You Want To Bet? Your Chance to Find Out. Finally, we will hope to advise Mrs. Oats, president of a famous cereal company, if it makes sense for her to include toys in cereal boxes.





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