Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Is the Probability Probable?

Rita Williams


The students compare experimental results with mathematical expectations of probabilities. This lesson should be used after students have been introduced to probability and taught how to calculate the mathematical probability of an event's occurrence.


The student compares experimental results with mathematical expectations of probabilities.


-Orange, green, yellow, and blue construction paper
-White paper
-Sandwich-sized plastic bags
-Student activity sheet (see attached file), one copy per student
-Rubric (see attached file)


1. Make sure the students have been introduced to probability and know how to calculate the mathematical probability of an event's occurence.
2. Download and review the attached file. Make certain you understand the directions.
3. Make copies of the attached file for each student.
4. Gather materials. (You may want to hold the students responsible for bringing their own dice and coins.)
5. Prepare a sandwich bag filled with 6 orange squares, 2 green squares, 3 yellow squares, and 1 blue square for each student.
6. Prepare another sandwich bag filled with white paper squares with the letters of the word MISSISSIPPI on them for each student.


1. Ask how many students depend on the weather forecast to dictate how they dress for the day.

2. Facilitate a discussion about how the weatherman makes his predictions and the accuracy of the reports. Make sure you tie this into the lesson you taught on calculating the mathematical probability of an event.

2. Distribute one copy of the student activity sheet and rubric to each student.

3. Introduce the activity. Include how it relates to the previous class discussion.

4. Briefly discuss the rubric and review your rules on how to be a good information manager. Answer any questions.

5. Distribute one die, one bag of colored paper, one bag of letters, and one coin to each student. Make sure they all have pencils.

6. Instruct them to complete parts A-D on the activity sheets. (The directions on the activity sheets are very detailed, so it is not necessary for you to walk them through the entire activity. Just be available for questions.)

7. Allow students to share their experimental results with each other.

8. Instruct students to complete part E on the activity sheet. Tell them to reflect on their classmates' results as well as their own while completing part E.

9. Facilitate a discussion based on their responses on part E.


Each student will complete the attached student activity sheets. Activity sheets will be assessed using the attached rubric.


Have the students work in pairs for modification purposes.

Web Links

Web supplement for Is the Probability Probable?
Who Would Have Figured?

Attached Files

The student activity sheet and rubric.     File Extension: pdf

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