What is it?
I have discussed before how much I adore probability, and yet it continues to be a topic that many students find tough to grasp. I believe that is due to the abstract nature of the topics. Probabilities of 0.34 and ⅖ may mean very little to students, and hence they have no way of judging the validity of their answers or forming the deep structures needed to fully understand the topic. Therefore, any resource that can make probability a little more concrete is always going to go down a storm with me. And this is exactly what Fairground Probability does. Students are presented with 8 classic fairground games and asked to work out the percentage of winning each one. Along the way they cover sample spaces and tree diagrams, as well as looking at dependent and independent events. It is pretty much the entirety of GCSE probability all wrapped up into one lovely activity.
How can it be used?
Such an activity lends itself particularly well to students working in small groups. You could give them all 8 games out at once, or set this up as a carousel activity whereby students get to spend 5 minutes analysing each game before moving on. To aid the move from abstract to concrete it would be great to provide students with some physical materials, such as dice and spinners so they could try out the games to get a sense of their answers match up in practice. Finally, alongside the lovely extension material provided there is also the opportunity to have students produce their own fairground game and work out its probability. Or – and this is a classic – can they design a game that has a given probability of being won?
Thanks so much for sharing