Your kindergartener is beginning to explore basic probability concepts in math class. Although she may not express probability in terms of fractions or percentages, she's definitely capable of determining if an activity or game is fair or provides everyone with an equal chance of winning.
Want to help your little one get familiar with the practice of tossing a coin while practicing basic probability? Challenge your child to find out if a coin toss is really fair by conducting this coin toss experiment.
What You Need:
What You Do:
- Begin this activity by showing your child the coin and pointing out the pictures on both sides. Tell her that the side that shows a person’s head is called "heads" and the side that shows a different image, be it an eagle, a buffalo or a landmark is called "tails."
- Tell your child that you are going to conduct a coin toss experiment to find out if there is an equal chance of getting heads or tails when a coin is tossed. Allow her to make a prediction before beginning the experiment. You may want to provide a real-world connection to this concept by discussing the coin toss used in sporting events or watch the beginning of a game on television if your child isn’t familiar with the practice.
- Use the plain paper and pencil to prepare a recording sheet. Draw two columns on the piece of paper. Label one of them “heads” and the other one “tails”.
- Allow your child to toss the coin. Using the recording sheet, place an X in the appropriate column (heads or tails).
- Have your child toss the coin 50 different times and record her findings in the correct column each time the coin is tossed. Discuss the results of your experiment. Then, have your child tell you whether or not she thinks there is an equal chance of getting heads or tails when tossing a coin and encourage her to explain why she thinks what she does.
Latrenda Knighten has spent 19 years teaching in a variety of elementary school classrooms, from kindergarten through fifth grade. For nine of those years, she taught kindergarten. She also served as an elementary school math and science specialist. She lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.