In All Probability

Investigations in Probability and Data Analysis

Grades 3—5

Written by Jaine Kopp

An all new, updated version of the classic GEMS best seller, significantly enhanced, with new sessions and added background for the teacher. There is now stronger emphasis on multiple ways to gather and analyze data, and on how to stimulate discourse and discussion to build individual and class knowledge.

If your students groan at the mention of statistics, or go blank when you bring up probability, you might ask what they want to be when they grow up. Wall Street mogul? The next Freud? TV meteorologist? Well, there you go: they'll be using statistics and probability all the way up the ladder. This unit makes these subjects fun, and makes real-world connections students will use all their lives.

Students dive into probability as they play games using coins, spinners, dice, and Native American game sticks. They investigate chance and probability with concrete materials, learn how to gather and analyze data, make predictions, and draw conclusions. As they gain direct experience, they also build confidence in their ability to explore probability and statistics. The guide provides background information on these themes, with information on real-life connections and careers. The activities provide a solid basis for the development of much-needed (and often neglected) real-life understandings and skills, stressing cooperation along the way.

Time: Twelve or more 45- to 60-minute sessions.

Interested in learning more about GEMS and mathematics instruction? Download our PowerPoint presentation The Rainbow of Math.

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Praise for the original In All Probability:
"Extensive classroom testing is evident. The layout and organization make it easy to use, the text is clear and concise, and the activities are relevant and engaging. Abundant photographs, illustrations and examples of student work as well as comments on such things as teaching strategies ('If students make unreasonable predictions, don't comment on them for now.'), or highly practical advice ('One teacher modified the spinners to work better on a hot damp day.'), enrich the activity plans and the teacher's ability to present it."

Appraisal: Science Books for Young People

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Literature Connections

Spanish Language Student Materials

What materials are needed to present this unit? See the full list.

ISBN: Grade Level Format Price



4 Activities (13 sessions),
140 pages


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