Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Have You Flipped Your Bic?

Nancy Guest
Leon County Schools


This is lesson extends a lesson in probability using one coin. Students flip a dime and a quarter to record and predict the probability of possible outcomes.


The student represents all possible outcomes for a particular probability situation or event using models such as charts or lists.

The student determines which outcomes are most likely to occur in certain situations (for example, spinning red is most likely to occur when a spinner is divided equally among red, blue, green, and red).


- Pencils and red pens for each students
- Transparencies of T-Chart Record Sheet and Outcome/Probability Sheet (see file)
- ZipLoc bag for each student
- Real or play quarter and dime for each student
- Copy of T-Chart Record Sheet for each student (see file)(Probability Kit, 1987, Learning Resources, Linconshire, IL)
- Copy of the Outcome/Probability Sheet for each student (see file) (Probability Kit, 1987, Learning Resources, Linconshire, IL)


1. Buy or bring from home enough ZipLoc bags for the class.
2. Download the T-Chart Record and the Outcome/Probability Sheet from the Associatied File. Make enough copies of the T-Chart for each bag, and enough copies of the Outcome/probablility Sheet for each student.
3. Make transparencies for the T-Chart Record and the Outcome/ Probability Sheet.
4. Buy or borrow transparency pen.
5. Sharpen pencils for students.
6. Buy or borrow red pens for each student.
7. Put pencil, red pen, and copy of T-Chart and Outcome/Probability Sheet in every ZipLoc bag.


1. Tell students that today they are going to “Flip Their Bic!” Give each student a ZipLoc bag containing all materials.

2. Review previous lesson, (outcomes when flipping one coin). Be certain students remember that Probability = number of ways to get an outcome/total number of outcomes.

Reinforce understanding of these terms and check for understanding through class discussion, of:
- heads and tails
- outcomes
- predictions

3. Arrange students in teams to encourage open discussion while the experiment is being conducted. Explain to the teams that they will be given two coins, a quarter and a dime, which they will flipping in order to predict outcomes. The two possible outcomes on the quarter are heads and tails. The two possible outcomes on the dime are also heads and tails. When the coins are flipped together, the possible outcomes are heads on the quarter and heads on the dime (HH), heads on the quarter and tails on the dime (HT), tails on the quarter and heads on the dime (TH), and tails on the quarter and tails on the dime (TT).

4. Use the T-Chart Record transparency to explain to the students how to record results on the T-Chart. Before each flip students indicate the predicted outcome by writing a penciled X in the correct column. After the flip write the true outcome in red pen.

5. Students flip the quarter and then the dime. They should not catch the coins. Let them land on the floor. They record results on the chart continuing to flip the coins until 40 flips and results have been recorded.

6. Students count the total number of HH outcomes. Explain that because there are four possible outcomes and each is equally likely, the probability of HH is ¼. This is written P(HH)=1/4. Write this equation on the overhead or board.

7. Ask the class this question, “In 40 flips, how many different outcomes would you expect? (4) Check with each team to be certain of understanding.

9. After completing this experiment, students work together to complete the Outcome/ Probability Sheet.

10. Students work in small groups while teacher facilitates by clarifying when questions arise in the areas of where/how to record information. Individual instruction is given to students who do not demonstrate an understanding of the math terms: heads/tails, prediction, outcomes. Students are checked for accuracy in recording the predicted outcomes as well as the actual outcomes. Additional instruction and feedback is given by teacher when needed.


Students demonstrate the ability to identify and record possible outcomes by completing the T-Chart and Outcome/Probability sheets.
Students receive feedback from the teacher after T-Charts and Outcome/ Probability Sheets are assessed on their predictions and


This is a probability lesson that may be extended by going to these Beacon Learning Center lessons: “Probability or Ability?” and “Traffic Light Probability”. Also, see “The Probability of Pintails” at
ESE students would respond well to this exercise because it is hands-on and involves cooperative groups.
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