Day 1: Probability

Spinning Wheel

I. Probability Topic(s): sample space, independent events, Law of large numbers, deviation percentage

A. NCTM Standards

B. Related Connections : biology

II. Assumed prior experience: reading charts and graphs, ratios and percentages

III. Rationale:

How can we use the mathematical principals backing probability to better understand real life situations such as genetic make-up?  What are the biological, economic, social and ethical explorations that can be made based upon the understanding of this useful mathematics?

IV. Learning Objectives:

Students will be able to explore concepts surrounding probability through the use of a computer program: Spinning Wheel.

Students will be able to hypothesize as to their own definitions of concepts as they work in pairs.

Students will be able to make a connections between previous units on ratios, percents and decimals and this unit on probability.

Students will be able to write about math, discuss their observations, and finally discover the true meanings of concepts surrounding probability.  

Students will be able to develop a formula for deviation percentage.


V. Materials & Technology Needed:

Computer lab with one computer per two students, Microsoft Excel (you will need to activate the add on :  Analysis Toolpack), copies of the provided question sheet.  You must download the SPINNER game onto each computer.


VI. Procedure:

     CLASSROOM (10-15 MIN)



VII. Assessment:

  1. 4 out of 5 dentists recommend that you use Colgate toothpaste.

  2. 8 out of 10 Americans polled said that they were in favor of paying high school teachers $1 million a year!

  3. 2 out of 3 doctors surveyed suggest the use Tylenol to their patients.

  4. 9 out of 10 students said that MATH is their favorite subject.

Note:  This lesson was used in a first year algebra class and was very successful.  At one point, a student was explaining the concept of independent events to her peers via this example.  She held her pencil on end and released it many times in a row.  She explained to here friends that the "landing spot" of each fall of the pencil (event) did not rely on a previous fall.  Sometimes all of the technology and methodology in the world cannot replace peer influence! 

Introduction Process Day1-Probability Day2-Genetics Day3-Extensions Advice Resources

Notes to Teacher

Probability Misconceptions Interactive Quiz Lesson Plans


Problem Bank

Topics Explored NCTM Standards