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3-5 | Math | Video Production
Station WLPB in Louisiana
My Classroom Innovation
When introducing probability terms, I utilized the lesson Chances Are. My lesson was innovative because of the use of technology in the delivery of the lesson and extension. To begin, I followed the PBS lesson closely. I introduced probability terms by asking students to tell what chance I had to make a basket 10 feet away, and I began a discussion of what probability means. Using the Interactive Board, I created the probability line on the board instead of the floor. Students revealed the decimal and percentage of the terms impossible, unlikely, equally likely, likely and certain. Using events outlined in the PBS lesson, students dragged the event to the appropriate location on the probability line. Afterwards, students agreed or debated the placement of events. This whole class activity prepared students for a small group activity. Students were given a list of events with colored stickers and a probability line that had the terms impossible, unlikely, equally likely, likely and certain. Students read these sentences and decided the likelihood of the event occurring. They placed a dot corresponding with the sentence on a probability line. Each dot was placed next to a probability term that expressed the chance of that particular event occurring. During this small group activity, I modified events from the PBS lesson and used events relative to our state. For example, what are the chances the Saints will win the Super Bowl? After discussing our results, and the fact that most events fell between impossible and certain, I felt my students were ready for the extension. This activity illustrated whether students had a true understanding of probability vocabulary. Students were instructed to choose one of the probability terms from our probability line and create a skit to be videoed that would illustrate that term.
How Students were Engaged
This lesson engaged students on several levels. Primarily, it allowed students ample time to talk with each other and debate the likelihood of an event. Students had some convincing explanations as to where an event should be placed, and it was interesting to hear their reasoning. Students discussed everyday use of probability terms and further illustrated how these words are used frequently when they wrote and acted in skits. As an educator, when I reviewed the students’ responses and skits, I was surprised at their level of understanding. It also gave me an opportunity to realize the misconceptions that students had about probability terms and discuss this with them. I realized I shouldn’t take for granted that these terms are easily understood by all students! Through my conversations and observations with students, I feel they have a better understanding of the vocabulary of chance. After this activity, students were able to describe other events using the terminology. For example, we discussed rolling number cubes or drawing cards. We also discussed practical application of these terms in everyday life. For example, the weatherman tells the likelihood of rain using these terms.
PBS Program/Content Used
Chances Are: Talking Probability Part 1