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Home School Life Journal ........... painting by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Watching the "Bell Curve" Develop Naturally


You can give your students experience with the bell curve with this simple, fun game. Sketch out 12 rows of about 8 circles and have 12 markers put on the first row of circles. We used gummy frogs, but you can use any math manipulative. Take turns rolling 2 dice. Your student might right away realize that you could never get the number 1. Early on in the game, the bell curve emerges, and continues through the game until the number 7 reaches the top of the chart. Throughout the game you can ask these questions to keep them thinking, "Which are likely to win the race the most times? Which are likely to come in second? Why is that? Which ones will come in last or next to last? Why? Is this a fair race? Why or why not?" With this game the youngest students get to practice counting skills and connecting a written number with the number of dots and a numeral and move the frog that corresponds. Students who are a little older get to practice following directions, cooperating with partners and the older students are interested in seeing the results of probability and statistics.

sources:

  • Frog Pond Math GEMS guide

3 comments:

  1. This is a very fascinating way to introduce children to probability. Maybe I should demonstrate it to my coworker who loves to go to Vegas and play dice :)

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  2. I learned this in graduate school but I like your presentation much better! Where can we get this gummy frogs and worksheet?

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  3. I just bought the gummy frogs at the grocery store in the candy aisle. You could substitute any kind of gummy or fruit snack creature. The worksheet came from the GEMS guide "Frog Math" you can find it by Google searching Great Explorations in Math and Science. It could be easily made yourself, however. It takes about 8 row and 12 columns. Hope that helps. :)

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