The Importance and Beauty of Mathematics

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The "Probabilities" Series

In the "Probabilities" series of activities you discover, invent, and test your mathematical theories.

These are a little more advanced, so please check out any suggested prerequisites. E.g., The Art of the Lynx, Create an Interactive Card, Interactive Story Project

Activity Cards & Guides

Students will create a computer simulation to test the probability of an event, in this case of two people in a class having the same birthday. This activity can be modified to demonstrate the probability of other events, such as the chance of rolling the same number on a die or on multiple dice.

Students will code the computer to:

  • Stamp a shape for each person’s birthday in a randomly determined location.

  • Create variables using sliders, and text boxes.

  • Create conditional statements to test conditions and control action.

Grades: 5 - 8

Time: maybe 3 60 minute sessions

Students will code an investigation to see how trial size impacts the probability of an event.

Students will code the computer to:

  • Randomly choose an event

  • Set the number of trials for an investigation

  • Keep track of how many times an event occurs

  • Create a graph using the data

Grades: 4 - 8

Time: maybe 3 60 minute sessions

Students will create a Calculator Program.

Students will code the computer to:

  • Retrieve input from the user via text boxes

  • Create variables and store values

  • Create an interactive button

  • Perform operations on numbers entered by the user

  • Animate a shape using Repeat

  • Hide and show text boxes

  • Advanced options include:

  • Incorporating additional buttons and operations

  • Try coding other applications that require the same skills

Grades: 6 - 8

Time: maybe 3 60 minute sessions

Students will create a gravity simulation.

This activity will allow the students to demonstrate how a object is affected by gravity and rolls down an incline plane or hill.

For this simulation and animation the students will use a ball to show what this might look like.

Students will code the computer to:

  • Locate objects using coordinates

  • Create backgrounds

  • Direct actions based on compass headings

  • Write procedures

  • Use buttons to trigger actions

  • Animate an object to simulate movement

  • Add a slider to create variables

  • Advanced options include:

    • Using more complex inclined plane

Grades: 3 - 8

Time: maybe 5 60 minute sessions

While creating this simulation, students explore math concepts such as randomness and its connection to probability.

This project introduces a number of more advanced coding concepts such as conditional statements and logic operators, variables, and additional applications of event handlers.