Today we started talking about probability. I asked the kids what this word sort of sounded like, and instead of "probably" -- the springboard I was hoping for -- they all said "problem." Yep, this is a problem.
Our exploration today did go pretty well though, once we gave up on certainty. The concept of something that is ALWAYS true or ALWAYS happens eluded them a bit. To them, going to bed at 9 o'clock is certain, and me being a teacher is certain. I asked them, "What if I decided tomorrow that I wanted to be a famous actor?" and one little girl immediately shot back, "You're not a famous actor!"
Then we moved on to the probability demonstration. I gave each group of partners a paper sack with 6 red cubes, 3 blue cubes, and 1 green cube in it. The kids took turns pulling a cube out without looking, and then making a mark on the tally chart. Each group did this 20 times. At the end, most of the groups had a higher amount of tallies in the red column, as would be expected.
When we did it a second time, though, the cheerleading came out. I heard someone say, "This time, I'm going for green!" and whenever a green came out, there was cheering. Or if I walked by, someone would tell me, Red and Blue are tied!!
It always starts to turn into a contest, with the kids rooting for one color to "win." Poor orange. He didn't have any supporters today.
Tomorrow we do spinners. When I told the kids that, they got excited, thinking I meant the stupid little paper contraband things they make and pass in class. When I brought them back down to earth by telling them I meant the circle with the arrow that you flick, they seemed disappointed.
Maybe we'll have to play Twister.