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I was talking to a teacher in my district about Stem and they were trying to find a Stem Unit that incorporates Probability. Does anyone have any ideas that they would to share?
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Hey Jeremy it's Donny, did you ever find anything?
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Hi Jeremy and Donald
I do not have a unit on probability and STEM but you might find some ways to incorporate the concepts and resources from this web seminar from 2010
Entropy: Mixing and Oil Spills
The web seminar was easy to understand. The basics of probability theory were applied to a model of an oil water system. This resource could be used in the secondary classroom as an introduction to emulsions.
Here is a collection that goes with the web seminar
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
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the probability of finding an electron in an s-orbital by dropping a marble held at arms length onto a piece of carbon paper at least 100 times while not moving the location of the arm and the hand is a nice probability event. Here is one resource that you may find useful in the Learning Center.
Probability of Finding an Electron
By: Michael Horton
Grade Level: High School
You did not mention the level or content area.
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A Journal article and something for middle school:
Science Sampler: How many lefties in our classroom?
By: Katie Rommel-Esham
Grade Level: Middle School
The Confidence Game for elementary school:
The Confidence Game
By: Leah M. Corey and Stan Braude
Grade Level: Elementary School, Middle School
I created a lesson on designing a cost-effective Lego building. That was only a lesson but it could definitely be expanded into an engineering unit with the incorporation of social studies and the history of building structures such as the arches of ancient Rome, the Colloseum, etc.
Throwing in the probability of a building having a certain height could be thrown into the mix as well.
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I don’t know that I would call what I do a STEM lesson in probability, but when I get to that unit each year, I go to the Dollar Tree and find all of the toys I can that can be linked to probability. There are so many if you use your imagination.
A good source for STEM Math is National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, http://csearch.nctm.org/csearch.aspx?c=all&q=Probability . A quick search using “Probability” as a keyword brought 6,104 results.
What I have found in teaching probability, once you have found some really good lessons, it’s easy to modify the tool that you are using and adapt it to something else. For example, it doesn’t really matter if you use marbles or chips, the concept is the same. The math is the same. The only difference is in one investigation you are using marbles, the other you are using chips.
There are several really good articles in NSTA journals I have used with my middle school students. The favorite of my 7th and 8th graders is, “Chuck A. Luck Wagers a Buck: Probabilistic Reasoning and the Gambler’s Ruin,” by Christopher Rump. They are thoroughly fascinated with this game, thinking they are going to win. I have them chart their results of 28 trials since I have groups of 4, each of them tries seven times, and records the results of everyone in their group. When they don’t win, I have them read sections of the article. If you wait long enough, they finally get why they don’t stand a chance. You can see the reasoning start to set in, and the moment of the “aha moment” is priceless. This activity sets them up to see probability in a whole different light. Instead of believing they will win, they go into probability thinking about the opportunities to lose and how those occur. Deeper content understanding is inevitable.
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You might want to look at the following website:
Hope it helps.
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DATA Analysis, Statistics, and Probability - adaptable to many levels of learning
This is not probability per se but it is a great exercise for making predictions and absolutely fun for students to do. They may gather data according to age, gender, and other physical characteristics, gather the data and make charts and look for patterns. Making predictions and converting these data into probabilities and then testing them on another class may be phun!!
The exercise is one often used in middle schools as well as in anthropology classes or with physiology contene and a simple interactive and write up is available from Annenberg.
Arm Span and Height Measurements
Measure your arm span and height. See how your measurements compare to others when your data is added to a data table and corresponding scatter plot.
Check this out for Data Analysis, Statistics and Probability:}
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