New Canaan Country School sixth grade math students hosted a Probability Fair, offering small prizes to participants willing to try their luck at home-made games of chance. The annual event, a Middle School tradition, featured 55 games including well-known favorites: Plinko, Spin-to-Win and the dice game “PIG,” and was held in the School’s Susan Haigh Carver ’51 Dining Hall, May 13.
Leading up to the fair, students studied the difference between chance and skill and reviewed how to determine the probability of an outcome mathematically. They then designed their own game of chance using either one or multiple layers (i.e.: spin a spinner and then roll a die) or some variation of compound events. They were also encouraged to remember that anyone who attempts it must have an equally likely outcome; it must involve chance, not skill. For example, spinning a spinner with even portions involves chance, while seeing how many basketball shots you can make from the 3-point line in 30 seconds involves skill.
Students were encouraged to be resourceful, nothing could be purchased for this activity; all of the materials for their games of chance had to be found at school or home.
Once games were created, students set them up in the Dining Hall where classmates, faculty and staff enjoyed testing their luck.
“This exercise gives students the opportunity to think deeply about a range of probability concepts – independent and dependent variables, compound events, theoretical probability and experimental probability – and encourages them to apply these concepts by creating a novel game with simple materials found in or around their house,” said Grade 6 Teacher Mauricia Gardiner. “In exploring their peers' projects, students are exposed to a range of real world probability examples and ideas. Probability isn't just a math unit in 6th grade, it can be found everywhere and understanding it can help you better understand and predict outcomes.”
New Canaan Country School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin and are afforded all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry, or disability in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, financial aid policies or any other school-administered programs.