Beacon Lesson Plan Library

What's the Chance?

Michelle Barlow


This lesson will provide students with a hands-on approach to learning the basic principles of probability and statistics. Students will conduct a probability experiment, record their results, and share their data with classmates.


The student uses models, such as tree diagrams, to display possible outcomes and to predict events.

The student conducts experiments to test predictions.


-Probability and prediction definition charts
-A bag with a yellow and a blue color tile
-A bag containing two green pieces of candy and one red piece of candy for each child
-A data recording worksheet for each student


1. Prepare a definition chart for the key words -probability- and -prediction.-
2. Prepare a bag with one blue and one yellow color tile for the teacher demonstration.
3. Fix a paper bag with two green pieces and one red piece of candy for each student.
4. Run off a copy of the data recording worksheet (see attached file) for each student


1. Gain the students' attention by telling them that they are going to be conducting an experiment with candy.

2. Use the definition charts to introduce new vocabulary words -probability- and -prediction.-

3. Give an example of probability. (What is the chance of a coin landing on heads or tails when flipped?)

4. Give an example of prediction. (What do you predict the weather will be like tomorrow?)

5. Demonstrate a probability experiment with one yellow color tile and one blue color tile. Have the students predict which color tile will be drawn out of the bag the most. Then have each student take a turn pulling a tile out of the bag. Make a tally mark on the board for each color every time that color is pulled from the bag. After every student has had a turn to pull a tile from the teacher's bag, discuss the data that was recorded.

6. Pass out the data collecting worksheets and go over the directions (please see attached file).

7. Give each child his or her bag with the red and green candy in it. Have the students take out the contents of the bag and look at them.

8. Have the students put the candy back in the bag, and record their prediction of which color will be pulled from the bag the most on their worksheet.

9. After the students have recorded their predictions on the worksheets, allow time to pull out a piece of candy from the bag, record the color, and return it to the bag. Students repeat this nineteen more times.

10. Once all of the students have completed their experiments, compare the data that was collected, and give each student the opportunity to respond to -Think about what you have learned- on their data worksheet (please see the attached file).

11. Review with students the probability experiments and the vocabulary charts.


Use the students' work on the data recording worksheet to make sure students understand the principles. The questions that ask students what they have learned will allow teachers to know if their students are ready to move on with the concepts of probability.


For students that seem to have grasped the concept of probabilty, provide more probabilty experiments for them to conduct on their own. (Such as how many times will a number on a dice show up when rolled?)

For students who seem to be having a hard time with the concept of probabilty, provide small group practice with flipping coins and drawing color tiles from a bag.
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