Why I Love Unifix Cubes, Part II (Or teaching Probability)

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If you read my first article about unifix cubes, you know I believe they are practically magical.  

They help kids learn, using concrete objects.

They are colorful.

They interlock.

They are fun.

They can be used for countless math operations.

Ok...ok, maybe not magical, but definitely something special for our home classroom.

My third grade daughter is learning about probability in Math and I used unifix cubes to teach her a way to learn this concept.

I had her write the color of each unifix cube on a 7 different index cards.
First, I placed a large handful of unifix cubes in a paper bag and did not show her the contents.  They were randomly scooped.

I placed the timer at 10 minutes. Instead of timing, you could also ask your child to pick out cubes 20 different times, etc.  It's important that every time you complete this activity, you use the same measure of picking out cubes....whether it be by time limit or by the number of cubes drawn.

One by one, she took a cube out, placed a tally mark on the appropriate color card, and placed the cube back in the bag.  

After 10 minutes, this is what her tally marks looked like:

I had her make an educated guess as to which color was represented the most in the paper bag and which was represented the least. 

She thought the green was the least represented.  Red, the most.  

She decided the probability of choosing red over another color was great, and that there was little probability of choosing green.

Then, she dumped out the cubes in a pile, and counted each color.  The circled number in black shows the number of tally marks, or how many of that color were represented.

When she was finished, she graphed the actual results.

If you don't have unifix cubes, colored crayons, markers, counters all work, as do pennies, dimes, nickels, and quarters!