Probability Redux

by Early Math Counts

Chance games are something that people often like all the way through adulthood.  Think of Roulette and that big round wheel going round and round until the ball falls on black or red, odd or even.  There is a rush of excitement when you think you have predicted correctly. In my house we love watching “The Price is Right” and all of those chance games.  Think of Plinko and Roll ‘Em.  They are all games based on probability.  Even the big wheel that the contestants spin to see if they are going to the Showcase Showdown is really a game of chance.

Using dice, coins, and spinners, we can introduce the concepts of probability to young children fairly easily.  You can create a spinner like this one to help children see – in an obvious way – that they can predict which color the spinner will land on. Since the portions are unequal, the children can see that there is a greater likelihood that the spinner will land on red than on blue.

If you use a standard spinner from a game of Twister, it is much, much more difficult to predict what will happen.  There is actually an equal chance of landing on yellow, red, green or blue each time that you spin.

The same is true for a 6 -sided die.  It may be hard for young children to predict when there are 6 choices.

So, a coin may be the easiest.  There are only 2 choices; heads or tails.  Each time you flip the coin, there is a 50/50 chance of predicting the outcome correctly.

Try some of these ideas and let us know how they go.

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