Lesson plan

1. Predict the likelihood of a random event: Getting gumballs (C)

teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Content.7.SP.C.5 http://corestandards.org/Math/Content/7/SP/C/5
teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Practice.MP3 http://corestandards.org/Math/Practice/MP3
teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Practice.MP4 http://corestandards.org/Math/Practice/MP4
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Lesson objective: Understand that we can generate hypotheses about the likelihood of an event by counting possible outcomes and favorable outcomes.

Students bring prior knowledge of part-to-part and part-to-whole comparisons from 6th Grade (6.RP.A.1). This prior knowledge is extended to reasoning about the likelihood of a random event as students count and compare outcomes. A conceptual challenge students may encounter is thinking that the outcome of a random event is purely based on luck and cannot be predicted through reasoning. 

The concept is developed through work with a probability line, which shows the continuum of likelihoods from impossible to certain.

This work helps students deepen their understanding of number because they compare the number of chances for a specified outcome to the number of chances for other outcomes, or the total number of possible outcomes.

Students engage in Mathematical Practice 3 (Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others) as they explain their reasoning about why their mixes of gumballs support Paige's prediction. 

Key vocabulary:

  • certain
  • impossible
  • likely
  • outcomes
  • possible
  • unlikely

Special materials needed:

  • (optional) Coloring supplies could enhance student work, enabling students to show their gumball mixes in color, though they could also describe the mixes in words