The word “probability” reminds me of college statistics just like data analysis did last week.  You might think that the principles of probability are not introduced mathematically to children until middle school – but actually they can and should be introduced much earlier.

Young children like to think about the “chance” of something happening.  Introducing and using language like “likely” or “unlikely” will help the children think about the predictability of an occurrence.  How often something happens will help define the likelihood of it happening again.  So, if you apply this with children , you can discuss the likelihood of events that are familiar and frequent in their lives.  Start with the easiest examples, such as asking a child who will come and pick them up today, mommy or daddy?  Based on their prior experiences they can predict who will come. As children get better and better at predicting you can ask them to choose between three choices; i.e., which fruit are we probably having for lunch? Bananas, apples, or oranges?  Even though they can’t actually predict, they can begin to look for trends and patterns which will support their ability to explore probability.

Next week I want to talk about probability using manipulatives such as dice, spinners and coins.

## 8 Replies to “Probability”

1. Susan Schwandner says:

I\’ve never done it this way before, asking about what food they\’ll have, etc., but I am going to try it. I\’ve done it with the scales and they liked that.

2. beth says:

I love working with charts but I had never thought of using them to introduce probability. This is a very interesting concept that I think my class will enjoy.

1. Stephanie Shear says:

I agree charts are fun, interesting. I use charts often and tally results, however I need more discussion about results more often.

3. I have done something like this with snow and how much water will we have once the snow melts.

This is very interesting and an easy way of learning probability concepts

5. Olga Miklasz says:

I like how the article explained probability for young learners.

6. Melanie B. says:

This is delightful! I can’t wait to start asking my group about their predictions regarding what they’ll have for lunch, what kind of shoes they’ll wear tomorrow, which color shirt will be most popular and more!

7. Melanie B. says:

This is delightful! I can’t wait to start asking my group about their predictions regarding what they’ll have for lunch, what kind of shoes they’ll wear tomorrow, which color shirt will be most popular and more! I’m sure the children will enjoy this type of activity very much.