Are you on the hunt for some fun and low prep games that you can add to your probability and statistics math unit? Don’t worry teacher bestie… I’ve got your back! Here are 3 of my favorite probability games for the upper elementary classroom.
If you’ve been following for awhile then you probably already know about my favourite probability game… SKUNK! This is a fun game that I play all year long in my upper elementary classroom. Whenever I have an extra 5-10 minutes at the end of a math block, SKUNK is always there to keep students engaged.
Here’s how the game works:
- The teacher rolls two dice.
- Students multiply the two numbers together.
- Students write the product under the “S” on their whiteboard.
- The teacher continues to roll two dice and students continue to record the products of those numbers under the “S” on their whiteboards until a one is rolled.
- After each roll, students must decide whether to try for more points on the next roll or to be out and save their points.
- If at any point, the teacher rolls a 1, any students who are “still in” the game lose all of their points from that round.
- If at any point snake eyes are rolled, any students who are “still in” the game lose all of their points from the entire game so far.
- To be “out” of the round and save their points, students must put a cap on their whiteboard marker (if they are playing with mini whiteboards).
- After a one is rolled, students move on to recording their products under the “K” column.
- Play continues like this until all 5 columns/rounds are complete.
- The student with the most points wins.
Not only is this a great game for practicing multiplication facts, but it is also fantastic for practicing addition because students need to add all of their products together.
Want to read about some other easy games that work great for back to school in the math classroom? Click HERE to read the blog post.
2) Probability Escape Room
Another favourite low prep review activity is this probability escape room! I love the fact that it literally takes 1 minute to assign to students. It keeps them so engaged and allows them to enjoy reviewing probability concepts.
Plus once students have completed one of my digital escape rooms, they can complete them independently without a lot of teacher support because they all follow a similar format and familiar structure. This means that I am able to get caught up on my marking or actually drink my coffee while it’s still hot!
3) Probability Card Game
For this simple game, there are two teams, all of the students vs. the teacher. It’s important to really hype that up!
I like to use giant playing cards for this activity but you could also use a normal deck of cards and place them under the document camera so that students can see.
To start the game, students choose a suit (hearts, spades, diamonds or clubs). Then the students get to pick one card. If they pick a card from the suit that they chose, they get one point. If they choose a card from another suit, the teacher gets a point. Repeat this 10 times. The winner is the team with the most points.
After the game, have students do a little reflection on their mini whiteboards or in their math journals. Ask them why this game is unfair.
Most students will recognize that the teacher had 3 chances of winning each round but students only had one. The probability of students winning was less than the probability of the teacher winning.
So there you have it, three fun games for teaching probability in the upper elementary classroom.