Thursday, November 27, 2014

inquiring into probability

Today was an introduction to probability.
On the board, I had typed this sentence, "We are about to start talking about probability."
From there, some interesting conversation that started with the whole class asking "What's probability?" down to "I think it's about making predictions" and "It's talking about what the chances are that something will happen," which is pretty good!
All from one student noticing that probability has the same beginning as probably.

Without really going any further, we went through some examples and I jotted down their responses.

After a few, we stopped to define probability as a class. They were getting it!

The next step is where it got interesting. 
Each kid wrote down one a "What are the chances..." question in their notebooks.
As they finished, they stood up, locking eyes with another person that's also standing, becoming instant partners. (This was Great!)
Partners shared their question and wrote down the responses found, free to find a new partner afterward.

The interesting part (you can't really see it well as I just used the class iPads to snap photos during the math block) is that although we had so many different responses as a class to the question I posed about snow in Manila, when they responded to one another, they ALL used percentages!

So we sat down as a class. I asked some people to share two of the responses they got from their classmates. Just responses.
Then I asked simply, "What did you notice about the response?"
They said things like, lots of people said 100%, 4000% is not a real amount, etc. 
It started dawning on them that all the responses were number based...
So in partners, they were challenged to figure out the "language of probability" using a number line.

They came up with so many descriptors!

Next up, experiments to test some predictions we might make using our understanding of probability. Vague, yes... Let's see what they come up with.

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