Probability and Playing Cards

This was fun little lesson we worked through this afternoon.  I gave each kid a deck of cards and their instructions on the screen.

Playing Cards Probability

This led to tons of problem solving and mental math.  They had to work out how many cards were in the deck at each stage of the problem, and then calculate the probability of pulling out various cards, or sets of cards.

[caption id="attachment_924" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Notice my Sumo cards?!!?"][/caption]

This took them a while, but having the deck of cards in front of them provided some real engagement with the problem.  It took the abstraction out, and made it concrete.

Of course, I allowed them to use calculators.  In this case, the calculator provided no extra benefit to solve the problem.  They still had to visualize the problem and figure out what numbers would be used.  The calculator simply added a level of technology with, well, calculation.  A good friend of mine once said, 'if the calculator allows them to easily solve the problem, then it is not a very good problem.'

Highest Wins

Once we finished this, we played a new game.  We dealt out a whole deck of cards and then everybody put down one card.  The rule, whomever put down the highest card won.  If there was a draw, nobody won.  However, as we were playing, we would keep the previous cards face up, so we could figure out the probability of what was left.  Not a terribly complex game, but it was fun, and the kids actually applied what they learnt from the previous work.


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