Probability Pi Day Carnival

06 Mar

It’s that time of year again!  A few years ago, one of my colleagues finished a probability unit by having a mini-carnival with student-created games.  The next year, the entire seventh-grade team took part, and now, the mini-carnival has turned into the capstone math event of the year – the Probability Pi Day Carnival.  Hundreds of students attend, and it is a terrific celebration of learning and math.

Students create their own carnival game, calculate the probability of winning, do an experiment, make some predictions, and pitch their game to the carnival committee.

I described the project to students by creating a video describing the requirements and going over an exemplar.

Youtube screen capture

Youtube screen capture


The kids came up with some clever and creative games!  They’re currently working hard on calculating the probability of winning, both theoretically and experimentally.  Then they will need to predict how many prizes they need to give out, so the carnival committee knows what supplies are needed.  I’ll post more about the games they’re creating tomorrow.

Their final project will be a model of their game, and a media presentation describing their game and the math behind it.  It can be a document, presentation, video, or anything they wish.

The best part is the school carnival, which is on Pi Day.  It’s awesome to see hundreds of kids in the building, celebrating their learning in math.  Kids talk about their projects for years to come. The community supports us by donating prizes to give away, and we sell circular treats such as pizza, fruit, and cookies.

I will update more as we get closer!


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Posted by on March 6, 2013 in School and Unit Planning


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