Year Four Gold have spent the first few weeks of Term Two learning about ‘Chance’. We began by learning about the language of chance. We learned that chance is the likelihood of something happening.
- If something will definitely happen, we say it is certain.
- If something might happen, we say it is likely.
- If something has an even chance of happening, it means that it is just as likely to happen as it is unlikely to happen.
- If something might not happen, we say it is unlikely.
- If something can’t happen it is impossible.
To help us apply our understanding of the terms ‘likely’ and ‘unlikely’ we played a game. The class were divided into two teams. One team was the ‘unlikely’ team and the other team was the ‘likely’ team. Each team had a set time to write down as many events that were either likely to happen (the ‘likely’ team) or unlikely to happen (the ‘unlikely’ team) at school that day. Teams lost a point if they came up with a certain or impossible event. We had heaps of fun with this.
Our class were then led to the realisation that some events can only happen as a result of another event. We were given the opportunity to discuss and suggest these types of events and then we placed them in order. A sample of some of the tasks we completed were:
Each person was given a list of events. Our task was to cut out and match up the events, identifying those that can only happen when another one happens.
Ordering Events – Getting Ready For School
We had to cut and place the ‘getting ready for school’ events in the order that they normally occur in our house. We then compared our list with a classmates’ list and considered how they were similar and different.
Before and After
We looked at illustrations and decided which events may have to happen before and after the picture. We worked in small groups to discuss and write about each event.
Before: A car is turning off and when it goes it crashes into the car coming past.
Before: Someone leaves the water running.
After: The tap is turned off and the people have to try and soak up the water and they call for help.
Next, we were led to the realisation that some events that happen by chance are not as a result of other events. We were given the opportunity to justify that some events just happen with no other event causing it to occur; in other words, they are a random act. A sample of some of the tasks we completed were:
Each person surveyed 10 classmates to see how many siblings they have and if they are brothers or sisters. Results were compared and we discussed the probability of the gender of a new baby to a family. For example: if a family has already a boy it doesn’t necessarily mean the next baby will be a boy.
Everyone in the class stood up and we had to enter a number between 1 and 6 into our calculator. Mrs Walker rolled a die and if a student had that number displayed on their screen, they sat down. We were able to change our number if we wished between each roll of the die. Play continued until just one student remained standing. We then discussed how the game would be different if a 12-faced die was used instead of a 6-faced die and we talked about the reasons someone won as well as the probability of winning increasing as more people sat down.
Heads or Tails
All students in the class stood up and placed their hands on either their heads, their hips (tails) or one hand on their head and one hand on their hip (tail). Mrs Walker then tossed a coin. If it landed on heads, for example, all students with their hands on their heads remained standing and all other students were ‘out’. Play continued until just one student remained standing. We talked about the reasons someone could win the game as well as the probability of winning increasing as more people sat down.
If we toss 2 coins, we can expect 4 possible outcomes – HH, HT, TT or TH. We worked with a partner and completed a chance experiment where we had to toss the two coins together eight times and record our results. We repeated the experiment and then we compared and discussed the results.
Odd or Even
Rolling a dice is another example of a random game of chance that is not affected by anything else. Each person was provided with a six-sided dice. We were required to roll the dice and record out of 20 rolls how many odd numbers and how many even numbers there were. We then compared our results with fellow classmates and discussed the similarities and differences.