Top Tips for Teaching Probability
Question
When you flip a coin, what's the chance of
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Top Tips for Teaching Probability

Hi, I’m Ben Owens, math educator, here for About.com. In this video, I’ll give you tips for teaching probability.  Since math can be a pretty dry subject, try to keep the class engaged by using interactive examples.  Let’s start with the basics of probability: When you flip a coin, what’s the chance of flipping Tails?  Anyone who’s watched a coin toss at a sporting event can tell you that it’s 50/50.  Students love coin tossing examples because they are easy to understand and fun to do!  The great thing about teaching using coin tossing is that you can introduce lots of different important probability concepts, such as the addition rule, the multiplication rule, complements, etc. Another way to introduce concepts in an engaging way is with a brown paper bag and candy. Just put 3 green pieces, and one red piece, in the bag. Don’t show your students what’s in the bag. Then let your students take out one item, one by one, without looking into a bag. When they keep a record of each draw, let them guess how many of each color are in the bag. And help them calculate the chance of drawing each color of candy. You can also involve your students in a game of Deal or No Deal. This game is about figuring out your chances of getting a better deal, by either playing on or taking the bank’s offer. Create an extra sheet with the round, bank offer, number of briefcases left, and the probability of getting the better deal. Let your students fill out the sheet while playing, and you’re teaching them probability while they are playing a game. Older students can design their own carnival-style game. They would need to calculate all the probabilities involved in the game, which will stimulate the students to think about probability in a different kind of context. Let them explain the game, and reflect on what they’ve learned in a paper or presentation.  And here’s an online game - adjustable spinner. It lets users create a game spinner with one to twelve sectors, and basically lets them see the experimental and theoretical probabilities. Great to involve students! Users can create a game spinner with one to twelve sectors to look at experimental and theoretical probabilities. As you can see, the best way to teach is to stimulate the students by involving them. For more on math education, visit education.about.com Thanks for watching!