Let’s flip a coin to decide.
It’s a simple statement, and one you may hear often.
My favorite example of flipping a coin is at the start of an NFL game. Especially on high stake games, an expectant hush falls over the stadium as everyone waits to see which team gets the upper hand. We all know that our team has a 50 – 50 chance of winning the coin toss…but all we can do is wait for the coin to settle on the dirt.
This tradition is the perfect introduction to probability….and what we will be focusing on today. These fun coloring probability worksheets are a great way for kids to practice!
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This is a guest post from Rachel at You’ve Got This.
What is Probability?
Probability according to math term definition is, “the likelihood of something happening in the future. It is expressed as a number between zero (can never happen) to 1 (will always happen). It can be expressed as a fraction, a decimal, a percent, or as odds”
You could think of it like this:
What is the probability a pig will fly by? Well, we know that will never happen. So the chance this will happen written as a fraction, decimal or percent is 0. You could also say it is impossible.
If we go back to the coin example, we can say that my chance of getting heads is 1/2, .50, 50% or there is an equal chance that I will get a heads.
What if I have four bears in a bag that are red, purple, green, and blue? I could say that my chance of drawing a red bear is 1/4, .25, or 25%. It is also unlikely that I will pull out a red bear.
Starting to Introduce Probability
To begin a study of probability is may be easier to leave the “math” out and begin with words like….
- equal chance
- 50 – 50 chance
I love this anchor chart as a way to help children visualize this!
Adding Fractions to Probability
Probability is really just a fraction.
The denominator is the total number of objects. It could be 52 for the number of cards in a deck, or possibly 2 for the sides of a coin. Maybe you put 10 manipulatives into a bag. Well, now the denominator is 10.
The numerator is how many objects there are of what you are looking for. If I’m trying to get an ace, there are only four in a deck of cards, so my numerator is 4.
When I’m trying to get heads on a coin, I know there is only one head so my numerator is 1. Let’s say I put three red buttons in the bag of manipulatives. If I’m trying to draw out a red button then my numerator is 3.
Equivalent fractions are helpful as children actually experiment with probability. They will probably not just flip a coin twice. So what would the probability be if they flipped it four times? 1/2 = 2/4 so technically speaking, I should get heads 2 out the four time I flip the coin.
Giving Probability A Try
After the ground work is laid, it is always fun to experiment. Create a spinner, put together a bag of manipulatives (such as counting bears, beads, unifix cubes, etc.) or grab a deck of cards for an almost no-prep probability experiment.
Begin by having the children figure out the fractional probability for each of the choices.
Next, have them begin drawing an object and graphing it.
Finally, finish up by comparing their results with what should have happened. Lots of discussions can happen at this stage!
Free Probability Worksheets
The probability practice freebie will take your children through each of these three steps:
- The first two pages allow children to color in teddy bears based on words. There are no exact answers for this, but just the fun of playing with words and what it might look like. For example, if it likely I will draw a purple bear instead of a blue bear, there should be more purple bears colored in than blue bears.
- The next two pages have children coloring in teddy bears based on fractions. A fraction is given, and the children must color in the correct amount of teddy bears. For example, if there is a 7/8 chance a yellow bear will be drawn….then seven out of the eight bears need to be colored in yellow.
- The last two pages allow the children to experiment. A spinner with bears is provided. The children determine what the probability is that their spinner will land on each of the bears. They then get to actually do it, and record their results. Next, they create fractions from their graphs. And finally, they compare the two sets of fractions and analyze the results.
Probability is a fun topic to explore with children. Enjoy playing around with this concept using these fun, hands on probability worksheets.
You’ve Got This
Rachel is a homeschool mom to four little ones, ages 2 to 6. She is a former public elementary teacher, and has recently begun blogging at her page You’ve Got This. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.
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