Friday, 7 November 2014

Simple Probability

We've started doing some probability work this week - (hmmm... just "happen" to do probability to coincide with Melbourne Cup week - what are the chances of that?).

As ever, we spent some time looking at the language of probability. I was keen to hear what the kids would say about the words we use to describe chance. 

We started with a continuum from 0-1 and placed a few words on the line where we thought they would go.


It looked a bit like this.

And some close ups:


Then we talked about the meanings of the words and how they related to chance.

Here's a few of the comments the kids made:

It is impossible, certain and 50-50 or half.

When there’s an even amount of choices and an even amount of things in that choice then it’s impossible to predict which one it will be.

There’s a lot of words for 50-50.

Halfway between impossible and certain there’s an even chance of it not happening or happening.

There’s always chance in whatever you do. If you’re kicking a footy there’s a chance that it will go to whoever you’re kicking it to or not.

There are different words for impossible, certain and half because they’re also things in between those.

In probability there are fractions involved. You can’t go over the 1 point.

Buckley’s means “no chance”.

Almost everything we do in life has a bit of chance.

I don’t think there are things that are certain or things that are impossible.

So, language is always a good place to start. We were able to assess prior knowledge, explore a few new ideas a little bit and generally get the ball rolling. It also gave us some direction for where we would go next.


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