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Probability Carnival Games Project

Looking for a fun, hands on way to bring probability to life? Are you ready to move past the “sit and get” style of whole group instruction? If you answered yes to either of those questions, then the probability carnival games project is for you!

Keep your students engaged and accountable with the interactive, versatile Probability Carnival! The steps of this project are designed to be rigorous and require students to predict, reflect, connect, and think critically about the situations being investigated.

Using this project, student will design and run a carnival game with compound events leading up to 3 levels of prizes. Students must submit a game proposal and get approved by their teacher, calculate the theoretical probability of winning each prize, and then collect data and determine experimental probability. Reflection questions are included at the end.

What’s Included?

  • Teacher Tips
  • 10 page Student Packet
  • Sample Project
  • Rubric
  • Student Progress Tracker

Your purchase secures a printable PDF file in color. On page 2 of this resource you will find a link to a student friendly Google Slide version of this file. You will be able to copy this file and use it with Google Classroom or any other paperless initiative.

Who is this project for?

This project can be used by classroom teachers, tutors, and parents of students in grades 6-9. It provides a variety of practice covering the mentioned topics.

Download the project here or through TPT

Check out what this teacher said:

Thank you so much for this fun activity! My 8th graders embraced the challenge of creating carnival games, and then my awesome colleagues also embraced it, and my team had a carnival day! We were outside the whole day playing the kids’ games – complete with a ticket booth! The kids loved it, and I have gotten nothing but compliments from our entire community! I can’t thank you enough! This will now be a yearly activity for our team!

Probability Games Teacher Tips

I had a hard time with the Probability Carnival Games Project when students wanted to design games like throwing a dart at a target. Due to the millions of possibilities of where the dart could land, it can be very difficult to calculate the actual simple or compound probability for such an event. Try to encourage your students to create games where the probability of an event is clearly defined. Things like: pick a card from a selection, spin a spinner, or rolling a die work well.

Prizes can be determined based on levels such as: if you roll one 6 you earn a small prize, but two sixes in a row wins a larger prize as it’s less likely.

Commonly Asked Questions:

What do the letters stand for in the rubric?

At my school we use E (exemplary), P (proficient), G (progressing), and BN (beginning), and Y (yet to meet) so these are the letters reflected in the rubric included with this project. Feel free to email me if you’d like me to edit those for you!

How long will this project take me?

Here’s my suggested timeline for this project:

1 day to introduce the project/brainstorm. I often have kids try to create games that are nearly impossible to calculate probability for. For example, there’s always some kids who want to create a darts style game, but in that case there are infinite possible outcomes and the probability is too difficult to find. A day to brainstorm ideas and actually consider how to calculate the probabilities would definitely be helpful. 

1 day to determine the rules and levels of the games. You’ll want to make sure that each subsequent prize level is actually more difficult than the previous one. Students could work in groups at this stage to calculate and explain their games. 

2-3 days for building games and troubling shooting with peers 

1 day for the carnival and then 1 additional day for making sense of data and calculating experimental probabilities. 

All in all, I’m predicting about a week to a week and a half! 

Can I get an editable copy?

Absolutely! Just email me at laneyleeteaches@gmail.com and I’ll get it to you right away. I create in Keynote, but if you prefer PPT I can export it in that format as well. Warning: some fonts may not look the same if you don’t have them installed on your computer.

What should I have covered before using this project?

I think for me, I wouldn’t use this project until I had at least taught the basics of probability and maybe done a few simple examples in class. That way the students will have a much stronger foundation when it comes to designing games that actually work. For example, it’s impossible to calculate the probability of hitting a bullseye (my students have always wanted to make games like this, but they just don’t work). Instead, games should be more along the line of choosing one item out of a set selection (such as finding a ball under 3 upside down cups).

Do you have examples of how the students created level 1, level 2 and level 3?

If your students find this project a bit daunting, encourage them to start VERY simple!

What I’d recommend is just creating very simple levels such as “rolling a 6 wins level 1 prize, rolling a 6 twice in a row wins level 2 prize, etc.” this can be repeated with drawing a black card out of 2 for level 1, then drawing a black card out of 3 for level 2 prize. Encourage students to keep it extremely simple!

Probability Carnival Games Project Ideas

probability carnival games example
I love this example as a super simple, yet fun way for students to employ multiple levels of theoretical and experimental probability. If you find the button once, you win prize level one. If you can do it twice in a row, you win prize level 2. Three times and you win prize three! Remind students that their carnival games don’t have to be complex to be fun!
probability carnival games example
Here you can see that our students were also instructed to post their theoretical probabilities on a game board with the rules of their game.
probability carnival games example
Spinners are another great way to keep it simple when it comes to calculating probability while still creating a fun and engaging game.
probability carnival games example
I’m a big fan of the card flip as well!
probability carnival games example
probability carnival games example
probability carnival games example
probability carnival games example
probability carnival games example
probability carnival games example
probability carnival games example
probability carnival games example
probability carnival games example
probability carnival games example
probability carnival games example

I recently discovered a blog post by another teacher who has done this project! Check out her sample student work.

probability carnival games example
probability carnival games example
probability carnival games example
When it comes to games like this one, calculating probability is going to be a lot tougher. I would encourage students to stay away from things like dart boards or other tossing games that require finding area to determine probability.

Download the project here or through TPT

About the author: I’m a 7th grade math and science teacher in an American International School in Abu Dhabi. I have a passion for creating resources that help teachers! Learn more about me here.

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