Friday, September 30, 2016

S'math - Probability

S'math is a combination of science and math. Our first S'math activity was Hop to the Pond, a game designed to get children thinking about probability. We played two versions of the game. In Hop to the Pond with 6 Frogs, we used a game board with space for 6 frogs, which are numbered 1 through 6. Students working in pairs took turns rolling a die. Whatever number came up, that frog moved a space. When a frog moved 8 spaces, it reached the pond and got to hop in. Then all the frogs went back to the beginning for another game. As a frog won, students reported it by adding a post-it with the frog’s number to a growing graph we created on the whiteboard. We emphasized that we are doing this activity as scientists and mathematicians, which means we report our results accurately, even if we want a certain frog to win.

Taking turns to roll the dice

Which frog will get to the pond first?

Recording our results

The next week we played Hop to the Pond with 12 Frogs. This time frogs were numbered 1 through 12, and students used 2 dice to see which frog moved. Several students caught on pretty quickly that it was impossible for frog # 1 to move in this game. Of course, this game generated a very different graph than the first. The graph generated by Hop to the Pond with 6 Frogs was fairly even with some mild peaks and valleys. As one student said, the game with 12 frogs generated a graph that looked like a mountain. Building on the observation about frog #1, we explored why certain numbers were more likely to be generated by 2 dice, and why the graphs were so different.

Hop to the Pond is fun!
Reviewing our results