Experimental and Theoretical Probability

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Students will be able to distinguish between and calculate theoretical and experimental probability.

Big Idea

How come the chances of getting heads are 50% but in ten tries I got 8 heads? This lesson will help kids make sense of the rules versus real life.


10 minutes

OpenerAs students enter the room, they will immediately pick up and begin working on the opener – Instructional Strategy - Process for openers.  This method of working and going over the opener lends itself to allow students to construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others, which is mathematical practice 3.  

Learning Target: After completion of the opener, I will address the day’s learning targets to the students.  In today’s lesson, the intended target is, “I can distinguish between and calculate theoretical and experimental probability.”  Students will jot the learning targets down in their agendas (our version of a student planner, there is a place to write the learning target for every day). 



40 minutes

Exp and Theo Probability Explore Narrative In this activity, students will be modeling probability using skittles (MP 4).  It is really just a fun lesson, and a great way for students to explore the connection between experimental and theoretical probability.  The must be precise (MP 6), however, and not eat any too soon!

Summarize + Homework

10 minutes

As a summary to this lesson, I am going to have students answer 3 questions on experimental and theoretical probability.  The purpose of this summary exercise is for me to see what knowledge they gained out of the skittles lab.  I will have students work in their tables, and I will take volunteers to share answers.


Homework: With the remaining few minutes, I will let students get started on their homework assignment. Philosophy on Homework