Proposal of Probability Project
Number Sense
Interactive Quiz
Lesson Plans
Problem Bank
Helpful Links

What Are the Odds?
The Ins and Outs of Probability

     According to a 1996 NAEP study, more students are taking an increased course load in data and chance, but "more than three-fourths of twelfth-grade students still indicate that they have not studied statistics or probability in school" (Shaughnessy & Zawojewski, 1999, p. 714).  This is largely due to the fact that teachers often find it difficult to incorporate probability into the standard curriculum.  Professionals in the fields of business, industry, and government recommend that their employees be skilled in these areas.  In addition, the Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM, 1989, 1998) stress the inclusion of statistics and probability.  A goal of this project is to incorporate real-world probability applications into probability, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus courses.  We aspire that students will make intra-disciplinary, as well as interdisciplinary connections.

     We are creating a probability web-based curricula for secondary mathematics students and teachers.  Our website includes:

  • Lesson plans: The lesson plans are designed to actively engage students to make conjectures, explore, and then discover the concepts of probability.  Some lessons will be intended solely for a probability course, while others will incorporate probability applications into various mathematics courses. Our lesson plans include appropriate integration of technology, manipulatives, and web applets, such as Excel worksheets, graphing calculators, decks of cards, and Exploremath.com.  Each lesson addresses methods of implementation and assessment. 

  • An interactive quiz assessing common probability misconceptions: The quiz addresses probability misconceptions relating to compound and simple events, sample size, representativeness, etc., as cited in Fischbein and Schnarchís 1997 study.  We plan to link our lesson plans to each of the common misconceptions. Teachers may use this as a pre-assessment tool.

  • Historical facts and related activities, famous probability problems: We plan to provide information about the origins of probability, for example the use of Pascalís triangle as a probability tool. We have activities that relate to famous mathematicians and the tools they used or created.  Also, our activities showcase some of the famous, recurring problems of all time, like The Birthday Problem. 

  • Glossary of probability terms: The glossary of probability will be a resource to help teachers and students familiarize themselves with probability ideas and terms.

     We anticipate these resources will aid teachers and students in incorporating probability into both their classrooms and daily lives!